February 04, 2022 | By Kevin Gray
TAGS: internships, trends and predictions, benchmarks, nace insights, retention
The paid internship provides key advantages for students seeking their first post-college position. For starters, results from NACE’s Student Survey have consistently found that paid interns receive more job offers before graduation than unpaid interns and more than those who haven’t engaged in an internship.
Overall, Class of 2021 graduating seniors reported receiving an average of 0.83 job offers. Meanwhile, paid interns received an average of 1.12 job offers, unpaid interns received 0.85 offers, and those who had no internship experience received 0.64 offers.
In addition, NACE’s research consistently shows that those students who had paid internships are more likely to secure a job prior to graduation than their counterparts.
However, NACE research has found that opportunity is disproportionately dispersed among the student population as, overall, historically marginalized groups are underrepresented in paid internships, overrepresented in unpaid internships, and more likely to have not participated in any internship. In fact, NACE analysis revealed that a larger portion of paid internships—the internships offering the best head start into a career—went to white students, male students, and non-first-generation college students.
Paid internships offer key benefits for employers, too. They satisfy federal regulations and permit employers to give their interns real work and a more hands-on experience to gain a better sense of their performance in a potential position or department. By paying their interns, employers can also ensure that their intern pool is not made up just of students who can afford to forgo a paycheck for the summer, which helps them create a more inclusive program.
Employers committed to building a pipeline of diverse talent must consider how to diversify the makeup of their internship program and identifies initial steps as:
Another important consideration for employers offering paid internships is setting intern salaries. During this process, employers take into account major and functional area. Many employers also use the student’s degree and year of study in setting rates. Average salaries for interns tend to increase as students persist toward attaining higher degrees and by ascending class years. (Note: These data are reported through NACE’s annual Guide to Compensation for Interns & Co-ops. The 2022 survey report and compensation guide will be available this spring.)
Other steps employers take and factors they may consider when establishing salaries for interns include:
Percent of employers that allocated more resources to recruit historically marginalized students
NACE September 2021 Quick Poll
Percent of students seeking employer that embraces diversity
2021 NACE Student Survey
Percent of employers with a formal diversity recruiting effort
2021 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey Report