Silicon Valley companies are bombarding summer interns with perks before they have even left high school in an intense competition for young talent.
Facebook ’s head of global recruiting, Miranda Kalinowski, told Bloomberg it had started recruiting before the first year of university and that there was “no hard and fast rule” on intern ages, while room rental start-up Airbnb said one 16-year-old worker had required a work permit.
Their policies are part of a rush by US technology firms to recruit a new generation of bedroom coders who are creating apps and attending conferences as early as 12 or 13.
In November, Facebook flew 17-year-old Michael Sayman from Miami to its California HQ to meet Mark Zuckerberg after his photographic guessing game 4Snaps caught the company’s eye.
The recent high school graduate, who wears braces and took his mother with him on the trip, started his internship on June 9 and said he would forego college for a full-time job if it were offered.
James Anderson, 15, got an internship with Oregon-based start-up Planet Argon just before he started high school, having attended a programming conference at 13.
The Valley is also improving its perks: Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT - news) puts on a free concert, last year featuring the rapper Macklemore and the masked electronic artist Deadmau5, while Dropbox flies parents’ to San Francisco so they can learn about the company.
In the USA, the top ten companies for interns’ pay are all technology firms save ExxonMobil, according to company review site Glassdoor though its listings for British positions are somewhat lower.
Average monthly pay for the top-ranked internships in London, compared to the USA, was £561 less at Facebook and £924 less at Google .