The main goal of an internship is career readiness: Through the experiential learning from the companies they intern at, students equip themselves with necessary skills before taking the next step - employment.
Just looking at internship statistics will clearly emphasize the importance of such programs. A few remarkable numbers show that they allow students to develop professional skills and find their first real job - just what they need to start a successful career.
So, where do you apply? Which company pays the highest intern salary? We answer those and other questions here. This article details the most critical statistics about internships to help you find just the program you’re looking for.
Editor’s Choice - Noteworthy Internship Statistics
- 70% of students were disappointed to have their internships canceled.
- 64% of companies won't pay compensation for canceled internships.
- Interns receive an average $20.76 hourly rate.
- Paid holidays and planned social events are the primary benefits for interns.
- Around half of the 1.5 million interns in the US are unpaid.
- Employers are 34% less likely to hire women for internships.
- NVIDIA interns receive $8,811 per month — the highest intern median wage.
- 73.6% of students are alright with high-quality but unpaid internship experience.
Must-Know Internship Facts Related to the Pandemic
Just like jobs did, internship programs have also dwindled during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nowadays, things are beginning to look up thanks to the vaccines, but the pandemic has made and continues to make significant changes to how internships work. Let’s see where we stand:
1) Virtual internships require around 120 hours to complete, or 20–30 working hours every week.
Some organizations found a way to continue internships without compromising student safety - through remote internships. Enrolled students are required to complete around 120 hours of online work.
Virtual internships often don’t seem as rewarding as in-person ones. Still, in the current situation, completing an online training program this year is much better than graduating college without an internship.
2) 70% of students were disappointed to have their internships canceled.
The collective impact of the pandemic has forced businesses to cancel most internships altogether. Despite knowing the value of internships to students, companies have halted training plans or scrapped them entirely, for safety reasons.
Even though most students are disappointed by these decisions, they also accept and understand why they were made.
3) Of all the organizations that canceled their internships, 64% declined to compensate students.
The importance of internships for college students is well-documented. Just as it’s devastating for people to lose their jobs, it’s also devastating for students to have internships canceled. Unfortunately, most companies (64%) won't compensate the students when they do cancel.
4) A survey of 913 current college students shows that 85% won't list canceled internships on their resumes.
A canceled internship on a resume may leave a negative impression on future potential employers. However, leaving it out of your official experience may not be the best idea: An internship, even if it’s scrapped, serves as proof of an employer’s interest in working with an applicant, had the pandemic not hit.
5) 75% of employers pushing through with internships have changed at least one aspect of the program.
Several college internship statistics have surfaced to describe the impact of the current crisis. Fortunately, some companies are pressing on with their programs, but they’ve had to adjust their training to align with health protocols. About 40% of all organizations surveyed are moving their internships online. Another 40% have decided to shorten internship periods by delaying their start, and a further 20% of companies have reduced the number of summer interns they’re taking on.
Key Intern Statistics to Learn Before You Apply
6) Internships have an offer rate of 70.4%, an acceptance rate of 79.6%, and a conversion rate of 66.4%.
All figures on internships before the pandemic foreshadowed growing job opportunities. Sadly, 2020 has been a difficult time in that respect, so it’s expected that the offer, acceptance, and conversion rates for internships have also dropped significantly.
While the answer to the question: “How hard is it to get an internship?” for 2020 was “Even harder than usual,” a handful of companies still offered virtual internships. What’s more, intern conversion rates rose significantly from the past two years, reaching 66.4%.
7) Intern hires with in-company experience have a 68.7% one-year retention rate, while people with external internship experience have a 55% chance to stick around for the whole year.
Internships are a way for organizations to get the best candidates for the jobs they have available and mold them into permanent employees. One of the main benefits of internships for employers is decreased turnover and increased retention, as businesses often struggle with retaining competent hires. Companies that offer interns full-time positions have higher retention rates.
8) The average hourly wage for interns in 2021 is $20.76
The average compensation increased by $1.5 per hour since 2019, reaching its highest level yet. Some paid interns struggle with living costs, so a decent hourly salary helps cover expenses like rent and food. But for some, the internship salary is secondary to the critical job experience they acquire.
9) Paid internships last from one academic term (ten weeks) up to one academic year.
First-time job seekers should be aware that there's no such thing as an indefinite internship. As stated above, the average internship length for paid programs is ten weeks to an entire academic year. Summer internship statistics show that unpaid internships with for-profit organizations mustn’t last longer than a single academic term. Students should be wary of any company requests for unpaid internships longer than that.
10) The biggest offered benefits for interns are paid holidays and planned social activities.
A student may have high salary expectations for a summer internship, but companies think differently. They prefer to offer students paid holidays and planned social events and save on costs. Many businesses, especially those with limited funds, seem to choose this avenue of internship compensation.
Other benefits which might raise intern employment percent or hiring rate are health insurance and 401(k) plans, but these benefits are costly to the employer. As a rule, until interns become entry-level hires, businesses don’t pay attractive benefits.
11) Each year, about 1.5 million students become interns, and 60.8% are paid.
The percent of paid vs. unpaid internships has been leaning on the positive side, with the number of unpaid internships falling sharply. Students invest funds to pay for their rent and bills throughout the internship period, so it's only right that the company shares this burden by compensating them. Although some companies still offer unpaid internships, numerous programs aim to change the situation and make all internships paid.
12) In a study on internship outcomes, 10% of students reported having a negative experience.
One significant purpose of internships is to give meaningful job experience to students before they officially enter the job market. However, not all interns have a positive learning environment. The percent of college students with internships who were dissatisfied with their internship experience was a noticeable 10%. According to those students, their supervisors failed to provide proper training, and interns were "misused" to perform overwhelming non-vital admin tasks.
13) In 2017, Two Sigma offered the highest internship wage, with a monthly average of $10,517.
One of the most important statistics about internships reveals which are the best companies to apply for internships. Two Sigma, the New York-based investment company, offered the highest intern wage in 2017. Students studying finances know that getting accepted by this organization is an excellent opportunity to gain job experience while earning a good wage.
Internship Statistics on Recruitment and Experience
14) Fortune 500 companies often turn upwards of 80% of their interns into entry-level employees.
An internship is a critical period for determining whether the intern and company can establish a harmonious, long-term professional relationship. It’s also a unique opportunity for the top US companies to observe the best college students’ capabilities. So if your main question is “Do internships lead to jobs?” the short answer is yes. Statistics on intern training don’t disappoint.
15) On average, companies begin recruiting interns eight months before a program’s planned start date.
College students don’t have much free time, so snagging interns is often challenging because of their schedules. One of the astonishing internship facts we’ve discovered is that companies begin scouting prospective interns eight months before the internship is scheduled to begin. It might seem like a long time, but it’s the only way for the students to plan for something as time-consuming as an internship.
16) Women are 34% less likely to get a paid college internship than men.
One of the shocking unpaid internship statistics emphasizes inequality in action: Women get rejected for paid internships disproportionately more often than men. Only 35% of women participating in a 2018 study on the topic were paid interns, as opposed to 58% of the men.
17) Students with internships on their resumes are 14% more likely to get a callback for an interview.
Employment internship statistics reveal that students with job experience gained through internships were more likely to get a callback for an interview than those without. In one resume audit study, fictitious resumes were sent to employers; internships differentiated those in the experimental from those in the control group. The results showed that resumes testifying to a completed internship were 14% more likely to be chosen for a callback, demonstrating the value of internship programs for students applying for jobs.
18) Finishing an internship leads to receiving 16% more job offers.
Several statistics on internships highlight the main advantage of completing an internship - getting more job offers. For career-minded individuals, a full-time job right after graduation opens the way to more opportunities. What's more, getting instead of chasing job offers means you get to choose the best job and company.
Interesting Internship Statistics in Corporate America
19) NVIDIA interns make a median monthly wage of $8,811, or over $105,000 per year - more than the US median salary.
With Apple and Google, Facebook is one of the world’s “Big Three” tech companies. Given its reputation, people would assume the Facebook intern salary to be higher than the average internship salary, and they would be correct. Still, an unexpected employer has taken over from Facebook in 2021 - NVIDIA, the chip manufacturer predominantly famous for its GPUs, is now the company with the most lucrative summer internship.
The Facebook internship acceptance rate is unknown. We can only presume getting accepted to the program will mean going through a rigorous process to beat thousands of other intern applicants.
20) Google has an internship acceptance rate of 3.7%.
According to Glassdoor, the Google intern salary has a $7,129 monthly median. With this wage, plus other attractive benefits, who wouldn’t consider applying for an internship here?
However, as it turns out, the company not only receives hundreds but tens of thousands of applicants. Therefore, the chances of getting accepted are almost nil if you don’t have any special skills or academic achievements to help you stand out. For those lucky few, the Google intern pay and experiential knowledge they’ll receive are more than sufficient compensation in exchange for a few hours of work.
21) In 2020, Amazon accepted more than 8,000 interns from 37 countries.
Apart from Facebook and Google, Amazon has one of the most coveted internship programs. The Amazon intern salary and other benefits that come with it make Amazon internships extremely sought-after by students. The programs typically last 12–16 weeks.
For those wondering about the pay, the median Amazon internship salary is $7,954. Rather than canceling its program due to the pandemic, Amazon created virtual training opportunities for its 8,000 interns - the largest Amazon intern class yet.
22) Goldman Sachs welcomed 2,727 analysts and 129 associates for their 2020 summer intern class.
Summer internships were different in 2020, but the well-known financial services and investment bank company still brought in thousands of interns. The company’s internships are quite popular in the financial sphere.
One frequently asked question about internships in this company is the wage. The Goldman Sachs internship salary varies for each intern position. For instance, as listed in Glassdoor, a summer analyst intern makes about $26 per hour, which amounts to around $6,000 per month.
23) NVIDIA kicked off its first-ever virtual internship training with over 800+ interns.
There are many reasons young job seekers want to join NVIDIA's internship programs, and one is pay. The company accepts interns for all sorts of postings, so the NVIDIA intern salary varies; nonetheless, as mentioned, the median salary at this company is the highest in the world, at $8,811 per month.
Paid vs. Unpaid Internship Statistics
24) 73.6% of students would choose unpaid, quality internships over paid, lower quality internships.
Students participating in a survey were asked to determine what matters to them the most about internships. As we know from previous statistics on internships, unpaid experience is the least preferred option. However, a surprise finding showed that the majority of participants would choose not to receive any salary, provided they received quality internship experience.
A small percentage are comfortable with receiving lower quality internship experience, as long as they’re getting paid. Of those who’ve made this choice, 75% cite the lack of funds to pay for housing or travel expenses during the internship period as their main reason.
25) Unpaid interns report being used for labor and doing meaningless work more often.
In theory, unpaid internships still contribute positively toward your starting experience on the job market. But internship job-retention statistics suggest that unpaid internships offer little developmental value, mentoring, and contribute towards lower job pursuit intentions compared to paid experience.
On the other hand, paid internships are generally associated with professional skill development and an overall positive experience. No matter which perspective we view things from, paid internships are superior in all measures of quality.
26) Intern statistics show that paid interns are 34% more likely to get at least one job offer after graduation than unpaid interns.
When employers invest in their interns, they can expect them to deliver "real" work and potentially become part of the organization. Thanks to that, many employers use internship programs as a pipeline strategy to meet recruitment needs. This is another reason paid internships lead to more job opportunities than unpaid internships.
Summer intern statistics reaffirm that internships are an essential building block of a successful career. They present opportunities students otherwise wouldn’t have and help them adjust to the realities of employment early on.
The preference between accepting a paid and unpaid internship depends on the job seeker. Although most students would like a paid internship because of the benefits, a handful found themselves grateful for an unpaid internship, mainly because it opened a range of job possibilities. There are opportunities to be found in both paid and unpaid internships, so it’s up to you to assess your options.