Growing a small business can be an arduous endeavor. Not only do business owners need to create, market and sell their product, they need to bring on the right people to their team in order to achieve their long-term goals. At the same time, money can be tight when startups are just getting off the ground. For this reason, hiring interns can be an attractive prospect for employers seeking to build a relatively inexpensive team. Here, we examine when it makes sense for startups and other small businesses to bring on interns and when they might be better off pursuing alternative options.
Valuable New Perspectives & Technology Savvy
Like any organisation, startups can always benefit from adding talented new employees to their teams. In Singapore, these hires can bring not only new ways of looking at business problems, but phenomenal educational backgrounds. Given the highly educated labor force in Singapore, startups have a great chance of finding bright students to join their teams as interns. For example, these interns may bring coveted skills in fields such as software engineering or data analytics, allowing them to make significant contribution for their companies.
The first thing that cash strapped startups might think of when considering hiring an intern is the low cost generally associated with these employees. The average wage for interns in Singapore tends to be much lower than the average wage in Singapore. For example, most estimates suggest that interns in Singapore earn about S$800 to S$1,000 per month, while the median wage in Singapore is S$3,800. This suggests that interns give businesses to hire relatively affordable, temporary workers to help with a variety of tasks. With that said, some interns earn as much as S$10,000 per month working at major international banks in Singapore according the the Straits Times. Ultimately, it is important to pay all of your employees a fair wage in order to ensure solid job performance and limit turnover. A good way to estimate the potential cost of an intern for your business is to search online job postings to see what other companies pay for work similar to that of your team's.
Excellent Recruiting Opportunity
Regardless of how much you decide you need to pay your intern, it is crucial that you make sure their time is not only valuable to your business, but also to their own professional development. This is because an internship may end up being a great recruiting mechanism for your company. Your intern will be more likely to consider a full-time offer someday if you have given them the chance to grow with your business. Additionally, the intern will be more valuable to your team in a full-time role if you've given them the chance to learn the ropes and contribute meaningfully for your team. Finally, hiring an intern is less risky than a full-time employee, given that you will likely invest less time hiring and training an intern and will face a comparatively smaller setback if your intern does work well for your organisation.
Signs You Shouldn't Hire an Intern
While the idea of hiring an intern may sound great, there are a few reasons you might not be in a good place to bring on this type of employee.
You Are Too Busy
If you are interested in adding a new team member in the form of an intern because you are up to your neck in work, you may want to think twice about the logistics of this hire. Unlike an experienced professional, interns require a significant amount of time invested in their training in order to make them valuable to your organisation. Not only that, interns often expect formal training in order to make their experience worthwhile. If you are too busy devout a few hours a week to training your new employee, hiring an intern may not be a good fit.
You Really Need Full-Time Help
Similarly, you do not want to hire an intern just for the potential cost savings. If you truly need an experienced professional to make your business grow, you may risk the quality and overall potential of your work by choosing a less qualified individual.
You Startup is Not Financially Strong Enough to Take on Additional Employees
Finally, if you business is not earning enough revenue to cover the cost of an intern, you may not be ready to hire additional workers. That said, if you desperately need more employees but do not have the funds to make it happen, you could consider raising more funds via equity or business loan. There are many offerings available to startups and SMEs in Singapore, which is very helpful for businesses with shorter track records as they often are denied from receiving bank loans. On the other hand, if you believe that you have enough business to justify hiring a new employee, but currently have a tight cash-flow situation you may want to consider a working capital loan in order to finance the day to day operations of your business.