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  • Average Hourly Wage for 2020-21 Interns Reached Nearly $21

    BETHLEHEM, PA—The average hourly wage for 2020-21 bachelor’s level interns rose to $20.82, according to results of a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

    NACE’s 2022 Internship & Co-op Survey Report shows that the salary for 2020-21 bachelor’s level interns continues an ascent in pay for interns seen in recent years. (See Figure 1.)

    “The average hourly wage for interns is the highest hourly wage that has been reported,” says Shawn VanDerziel, NACE executive director. “Moreover, it is important to consider the context: The last two summers have been particularly challenging for employers as they grappled with managing their internship programs during a pandemic, but they wanted to remain competitive and raised wages. Our studies show that the market is hot right now for both full-time hires and interns. We expect that hourly wages for summer 2022 interns will reflect that.”

    In addition to pay, many employers offered a range of benefits to their 2020-21 interns. These benefits commonly included planned social activities (79.0%) and paid holidays (55.1%). Nearly one-quarter (23.2%) offered their interns 401(k) plans.

    However, says VanDerziel, internships offer more than mere compensation.

    “Beyond the compensation they receive, interns also gain valuable real-world work experience and develop key competencies through the work they perform. That experience makes them attractive to potential employers when they are ready to enter the job market,” VanDerziel adds.

    Nearly two-thirds of 2020-21 interns’ time at work was spent on a combination of analytical/problem-solving work (36.1%) and project management duties (27.3%).

    “One of the biggest advantages of a paid internship is that the employer can give the intern meaningful work without running afoul of wage laws,” says VanDerziel. “This benefits both the employer and the student.”

    Figure 1: Average hourly wage for interns, 2018 – 2021

    Figure 1

    About NACE’s 2022 Internship & Co-op Survey Report: NACE’s 2022 Internship & Co-op Survey Report provides projections for internship and co-op programs for the 2021-22 academic year, but the bulk of the information presented here represent data gathered from 2020-21 internship and co-op programs. Historical data are also provided to indicate trends. Data collection took place from November 10, 2021, to January 12, 2022. There were 183 NACE member respondents representing 22.4% of eligible member respondents. The Internship & Co-op Survey was also distributed to nonmember companies from which an additional 26 responses were received. For information about how to purchase the 2022 Internship & Co-op Survey Report, see www.naceweb.org/store/2022/internship-survey-compensation-guide-combo/.

    About NACE: Established in 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is the only professional association in the United States that connects more than 9,800 college career services professionals, more than 3,300 university relations and recruiting professionals, and more than 300 business solution providers that serve this community.

    NACE is the premier source of market research on career readiness and employment of recent college graduates. NACE forecasts hiring and trends in the job market; tracks salaries, recruiting and hiring practices, and student attitudes and outcomes; and identifies best practices and benchmarks.

    NACE offers its members unparalleled research, networking and professional development opportunities, guidance on standards and ethics, and advocacy on key issues. For more information, visit www.naceweb.org. NACE maintains a virtual press room for the media.