Are Internships The New Entry-Level Jobs?

12/13/2010 08:32 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Many of this recent and future college graduates may be stuck with internships instead of entry-level positions after earning their degrees, according to CNN.

A report (PDF) released by the Pew Research Center found that full-time employment has decreased by 9 percent among 18-to 29-year-olds since 2006,
leaving only 41 percent of the demographic with permanent positions.

Michigan State University's Collegiate Employment Research Institute Director Phil Gardner told CNN that students should embrace post-grad internships as a means of staying active in the labor market, ensuring a chance at a full-time position when employers do start hiring. According to Gardner, "evidence suggests that the internship now replaces the starting job as the place college students actually begin their journey into the workplace."

Some of the students who spoke with CNN have begrudgingly taken Gardner's advice - New York University senior Claire Brooks held nine internships since her sophomore year of high school, and University of Central Florida alum Lauren Berger had 15 internships before finally landing a full-time position.

But members of the class of 2011 might have less to worry about, as hiring of those who hold bachelor's degrees is expected to increase by 10 percent in the next year.

Ironically, the surge in internships has helped foment a niche market for those equipped to help students seeking placement in competitive organizations. The Washington Post reported in August that the Washington Center charges students $9,000 in exchange for housing and a guaranteed summer internship.

What do you think about internships taking the place of entry-level positions? Let us know in the comments section -- and please share your unemployment stories with us as well.