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Facebook has the highest-paid internship in the U.S., Glassdoor survey finds

JP Mangalindan
Chief Tech Correspondent
A Facebook Like Button logo is seen at the entrance of the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park on May 10, 2012 in California. AFP PHOTO / Kimihiro HOSHINO (Photo credit should read KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/GettyImages)

Despite 2019 being a tumultuous year so far for Facebook (FB), the social network claimed the top spot once again on Glassdoor’s list of highest paying internships in the U.S., offering a median monthly pay of $8,000 a month — or the equivalent of $96,000 a year.

Jobs site Glassdoor released its “25 Highest Paying Internships in the U.S. for 2019” on Wednesday, and tech companies accounted for 44% of all employers on the list. Facebook ranked No. 1 with a median monthly pay of $8,000, followed by Amazon (AMZN) at No. 2 with a median monthly pay of $7,725, Salesforce (CRM) at No. 3 with a median monthly pay of $7,667, Google (GOOGGOOGL) at No. 4 with a median monthly pay of $7,500, and Microsoft (MSFT) with a median monthly pay of $7,250.

“While Facebook has faced some heavy scrutiny in the media, they continue to prioritize the recruitment of the next generation of tech talent,” said Glassdoor senior economic research analyst Amanda Stansell. “Facebook interns aren’t just grabbing coffee — they’re working on real-world projects. These salaries reflect the high expectations for these interns.”

Source: Glassdoor

Facebook’s internship, which also claimed the top spot on Glassdoor’s “25 Highest Paying Internships in the U.S.” when the jobs site last published its list in 2017, is typically an eight to 12-week program aimed at college students interested in engineering, tech, design, or business. The majority of interns have usually just completed their sophomore or junior year in college, but interns in Facebook University, which is aimed at students from underrepresented communities, can skew younger in age, the social network says.

A wide range of qualifications

Facebook internship qualifications vary based on the focus of that particular internship and the team. The ideal research intern for Facebook’s Silicon Compute Architecture team in Menlo Park, California, for instance, is expected to have previous experience with computer architecture, possess software design and programming skills in C/C++, as well as be in pursuit of a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science or Electrical/Computer Engineering in the field of Computer Architecture. Meanwhile, a solid data scientist intern candidate for Facebook’s infrastructure strategy team in Seattle, Washington, should have a basic understanding of statistics and machine learning techniques and be proficient in SQL, a programming language used to communicate with databases, as well as another programming language like PHP, Python, C, C++ or Java.

Former Facebook interns who posted reviews on Glassdoor lauded the social network for perks like “ridiculous [high] pay” and the ability to work alongside passionate and intelligent people tackling challenges with “massive scale” and “huge real-world impact.”

“The Facebook internship is an opportunity for students to work on actual problems and projects that affect the 2.7 billion people who use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger each month,” a Facebook spokesperson told Yahoo Finance in a statement. “Our internship gives students a taste of what it’s like to work at Facebook, and Facebook a chance to get to know our interns.”

Facebook would not share compensation data for its internships, other than to say its salaries are “competitive” and “students are compensated fairly for their work and impact on Facebook’s products.”

Interns are eligible to return for multiple summers, with some interns eventually receiving full-time offers. The social network says a “high number” of interns return for repeat stints or full-time jobs, but it declined to share an exact number.

A potent recruiting tool

For tech companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Salesforce, and Google, offering extremely high internship salaries is one way for them to identify and attract talent early on — a necessary strategy given how competitive employee recruitment and retention in tech has become.

“These tech employers are competing with one another to find talented tech talent, but they’re also competing with retail companies and financial institutions who are also hiring for software engineers and data scientists,” Stansell said.

As far as downsides when interning at Facebook, several former interns said the work culture could be stressful, with pressure to move quickly and produce results by the end of their internship run, and the company’s 37,700 employees can make it tough for interns to get to know one another. At least one former intern posted on Glassdoor that all the negative media attention aimed at Facebook can make the work environment stressful.

Since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Facebook has been rocked by a slew of scandals, including the Cambridge Analytica controversy in March 2018, when it was revealed that the voting profile firm gained access to the information of up to 87 million Facebook users without their consent as part of an effort to elect President Donald Trump. In addition to several security breaches that emerged in the months following Cambridge Analytica, Facebook is currently expected to pay a Federal Trade Commision fine of between $3 billion and $5 billion for privacy violations. The social network wrote down $3 billion during its first-quarter 2019 earnings in anticipation of the forthcoming fine.

Glassdoor compiled its “25 Highest Paying Internships in the U.S.” list by reviewing salary reports posted by interns in the U.S. between March 1, 2018 and February 28, 2019. To be considered for the list, employers with internship programs must have received at least 25 salary reports in U.S. dollars by U.S-based interns during the time period. In cases where companies have the same median monthly pay, Glassdoor gave the company with the greater number of salary reports the higher rank.

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