An internship is an opportunity to develop professional skills, make contacts, and learn from the best in your branch. The latest internship statistics are in, and they showcase the most important trends for those in this stage of career development.

The biggest number of interns are students. Sometimes interns are paid, and sometimes they get other benefits such as academic credit. Other times, they’re expected to work for “exposure and experience.”

These stats offer us the answers to who can apply for an internship, where, and how much money interns earn. They’re a valuable resource for anyone choosing or organizing an internship.

Top Internship Statistics in 2021(Editor’s Choice)

  • 46.2% of interns confirmed the importance of internships during COVID-19.
  • Around 500,000 to one million interns per year are not paid.
  • After an internship, 70.4% of interns get a job offer.
  • Engineering and computing science internships are paid in nearly 87% of cases.
  • Interns with a bachelor’s degree are paid $19.05 per hour on average.
  • Women earn $7,404 per year less than men during business internships.
  • Companies save almost $2 billion per year through internships.
  • 90% of universities now provide academic acknowledgment for completed internships.

Internship-to-Job Retention Statistics: The Odds of Getting Hired

Studies have shown that having an internship can drive you to the front of the long line of those waiting to get hired. These days, employers aren’t only degree-oriented, but they’re also looking for extensive knowledge, practical skills, and a strong work ethic. These are necessary for an individual to make it in the labor market. You get all these through internships, and the more internships you complete, the better your chances of scoring that dream job.

1. Over 60% of students in the graduating classes of 2019 have completed at least one internship.

(Forbes)

This may seem like a high number, but in actuality, it represents a drop from the previous two years. In 2017, 81% of students had completed an internship by the time they graduated. In 2018, the number fell to 77%. Before COVID-19 hit, the share of graduates with no interning experience rose to 31%.

2. 70.4% of interns get offered a job after an internship.

(NACE)

Of those, 79.6% accept the offer they get. While candidates don’t need to have an internship to get hired, and an internship certainly doesn’t guarantee you a job, internship statistics for 2021 show it does boost your job prospects.

3. 60% of employers are more likely to hire individuals who interned.

(ProPublica)

Writing a resume is a challenging task for college students who can’t quote any work experience. However, they can add internships and volunteer work. This way, employers will be have something to show them you’re willing to work and have specific skills and knowledge to develop further. When you take that into the equation, it’s no wonder HR departments are more likely to forward resumes containing internships to their bosses over those without.

4. In 2019, 10.5% more interns stayed on for full employment than the previous year.

(NACE)

According to post-internship job-retention statistics, offers, acceptance, and conversion rates were all above 50%. In the previous year, less than half of all the interns received and accepted a job offer from the company they were working at. In other words, while the share of students who intern may be lowering, the job prospects of those who gain this sort of experience are improving.

5. The one-year retention rate is 71.4% for those who interned inside of a company of future employment.

(NACE)

When considering interns for employment, internship statistics show that employers value the loyalty and trust they get from their interns. Naturally, the chances of staying in a company where a person has done an internship are much higher. The one-year retention rate for internal interns is 71.4%.

Although they prefer their interns, it’s not impossible to succeed in a company if you haven’t done your internship there. There is a 59% retention rate for those who have interned elsewhere.

6. The five-year retention rate for internal interns is 43.9%.

(NACE)

According to internship statistics for companies, the same trend for internal vs. external interns is maintained, but the overall rates are lower. Out of all internally hired former interns, 43.9% stay on for five years. For those who did their internship outside the company, this retention rate is 37.3%.

In other words, long-term, the odds for staying on with a company for five years is similar for internal and external interns.

7. 57.5% of applicants who got at least one full-time job offer had an internship.

(NACE)

Internship trends show that the main perk of being an intern is a better chance to pursue the career you want.

Out of all graduates who applied for a full-time job, 53.2% got a minimum of one job offer. Out of that, 57.5% had an internship on their resume. You don’t need an internship to get a job, but having one can give you many benefits, as discussed further in this article.

The Average Internship Salary

Average wages for interns depend on a company, level of degree, or profession. Salaries are a benefit of interning, together with bonuses and higher job retention rates.

However, some companies refuse to pay interns adequately, insisting instead that the experience and expertise students gain through these programs is payment enough. Let’s see what prospective interns can expect:

8. With a bachelor’s degree, the average internship salary is $19.05 per hour.

(NACE)

In 2010, interns with bachelor’s degrees earned $17 per hour. In 2019, their average pay rose to $19.05.

According to HR professionals, the highest wages are in the fields of computer science, engineering, math/statistics, etc. Meanwhile, the lowest intern wages can be found in education, human resources, and agricultural sciences.

9. On average, people who have done a paid internship expect $10,000 more annually than unpaid interns or non-interns.

(NACE)

Unpaid internship statistics show that people who never interned or had unpaid internships expect lower wages – from $40,000 to $45,000. Those who did paid internships hope for a salary between $50,000 and $55,000. Since they were appropriately compensated for their work, paid interns have greater confidence in their expertise.

10. Interns can earn more than $2,500 in bonuses, according to internship facts.

(NACE)

During the Great Recession, bonuses were rarely assigned, especially to the interns. Since then, there have been some crucial changes.

Since the market got back on track, after 2012, bonuses started to rise again, and interns were once again included in these policies. In 2017 an intern could earn about $2,500 in bonuses, and since then, this number has been increasing.

11. The Facebook acceptance rate for internships is low, but it offers the second-best paid internship today with an average salary of just over $8,000.

(Glassdoor)

Some of the most popular internships are at the most prestigious companies in the world. The absolute leader used to be Facebook, with around $8,023 in monthly salary for its interns. However, it has recently been overtaken by NVIDIA, whose internship now pays $8,811 on average.

Take a look at the top-paying internships, according to Glassdoor (median monthly pay):

  • NVIDIA: $8,811
  • Facebook: $8,023
  • LinkedIn: $8,009
  • Amazon: $7,954
  • Salesforce: $7,710

12. Engineering and computing science students get a paid internship in about 87% of cases.

(Business Insider)

Today, fields such as engineering and computing are at their peak. Those are the areas of expertise where salaries are the highest, and internships are more often paid.

On the other hand, internship wages in social sciences, health sciences, humanities, or education are not so spectacular. Students in these fields get paid internships only 40% of the time.

13. The average yearly engineering internship salary is $65,208.

(Glassdoor)

Engineering is the field of highest salaries of all professions, and internships are not an exception. The average engineering intern can earn $65,208 per year.

The engineering boom resulted in there being 4.4 million software developers just in the US. The maximum amount an engineering intern can expect is over $100,000 per year.

There are many cases in which employers don’t pay their interns. Such employers argue that, as long as interns gain skills, knowledge, and valuable competencies, it’s a win-win situation, but that’s hardly true.

You can find more stats below to help you better understand this issue.

14. Primary financing institutions are paying 33.7% of the interns.

(ILO)

The question isn’t always whether the interns are paid or not, but who pays them. Internship statistics for companies show that 33.7% of interns are paid by the organization that actually organized the internship. This percentage of paid interns rises to 55.2% when you consider payments made by third-party institutions.

This means that the responsibility for salaries is sometimes transferred from hiring companies to other institutions.

15. In 2019, the percentage of paid interns was 60.8%.

(Chegg Internships)

It may seem that many employers prefer extending other benefits of internships than an actual salary since only 60.8% of interns get paid.

(Business Insider)

According to Business Insider, 18% of interns don’t gain anything from internships. According to US laws, interns must be fairly compensated in exchange for their effort. If they receive neither pay nor some sort of credit, them doing work for the company as part of the internship is technically illegal.

17. There are between 500,000 to one million unpaid interns each year.

(The Atlantic)

As mentioned, many internships are unpaid. “Many” ranges between 500,000 to one million people each year. This indicates that a significant portion of students spend their summers working for free.

Students and college graduates are the most frequent target groups when it comes to internships. But they aren’t the only ones who take this chance. Anyone willing to learn can apply for an internship.

For people with no work experience, internships are precious. They are the opportunity for learning and growth, and they’re also preparing them both for life and their career.

Here are some college internship statistics for further reading:

18. Almost 40% of employers offer course placements for undergraduate students.

(High Fliers)

In the UK, employers offer different compensation options to undergraduate students: If they finish an internship, students may get either academic credit, or, in the case of nearly 75% of employers, they get paid vacations.

19. Around 2% of interns do six or more internships during their college years.

(Chegg Internships)

The importance attributed to internships is reflected in senior internship statistics. While some people never try to intern, 2% of students complete six or even more internships. About half of all interns do only one internship, while the other half do more. Approximately 27% participate in two and 13% in three internships. 

20. Studies have shown that 31% of interns start internships after they finish their studies.

(Chegg Internships)

Of course, students hold the most significant numbers in internship statistics. Still, it’s no surprise that some of them decide to wait until they finish college. Almost 31% of interns are post-graduates. Keeping up with studies and work simultaneously is overwhelming, so some choose to separate the two.

21. When it comes to satisfaction with the internship, 63% of interns state they gained adequate knowledge.

(ILO)

When it comes to the perceived benefits of an internship, statistics reveal that 63% of interns think they gained a lot of relevant experience. For 42%, it was easier to search for a job afterward. Furthermore, 23% prolonged the internship on the companies’ initiative, and 32% got a job offer after the internship ended.

22. Interns can now earn academic acknowledgment for their internships in 90% of universities.

(ProPublica)

College internship statistics reveal that universities are starting to recognize the role of internships in students’ lives. Nearly 90% of universities can now offer academic credit to students interning somewhere as a form of compensation.

23. 65.7% of engineers have completed an internship.

(Chegg Internships)

For some roles, internships are recommended as it is the best way of gaining much-needed skills.

Engineering internship statistics show the importance of applying theoretical knowledge in practice, because 65.7% of engineers have done an internship.

Internships are also recommended for a lot of other professions. 84.5% of audit associates did an internship, as did 55% of project managers, and 38.1% of customer service representatives.

Whatever career path you may choose, doing an internship can only help you prepare for it.

Internship Facts: Statistics on Gender and Social Gaps 

It’s a well-known fact that the average wages for men and women are not equal. Women make up 47% of the workforce worldwide, and this includes internships, too.

Gender inequality is present in most spheres of existence, and it intersects with other forms of social disparity, too. Women from underprivileged backgrounds have even worse chances of scoring a paid internship than those who are more affluent.

Check out these provocative stats to find out more about how paid internships are distributed among demographic groups.

24. Women complete 81% of unpaid internships.

(NACE)

Besides the fact that women and men aren’t paid equally, internship statistics show that women are more likely to intern for free in non-profit institutions, companies, or government, in 81% of cases. Men, on the other side, are often getting paid internships in for-profit organizations.

25. During business internships, women earn $7,404 less per year than men.

(Stanford Graduate School of Business)

In the business field, women earn $76,272 annually, and men earn $83,676 annually.

Even though women earn less during their internship, they can outrival men after an internship is done. According to US internship statistics, if women continue working in the same company after their interning finishes, their wages average $108,600. For men, this number is $108,196. However, this difference is not statistically significant.

26. Only 42.4% of people from developing countries coming from a poor social background will have a chance to get a paid internship.

(ILO)

When we talk about paid vs. unpaid internship statistics, we can see some devastating facts. Social background has always been a point of unequal distribution of rights to work and education.

Only 42.4% of interns from developing countries whose families are not educated can hope for paid internships. Meanwhile, 60.3% of those coming from well-off, educated families succeed in finding paid internships.

27. Companies save nearly $2 billion per year because of internships.

(Business Insider)

Unpaid internship statistics can offer some explanations. Employing interns instead of full-time workers allows companies to keep almost $2 billion per year. There is a hole in every law, and corporations are using every inch of it. When hiring interns from their private databases, companies save $15,000 per person.

Remote Internship Statistics: The New Reality of Internships

In 2020, we faced the world pandemic, and because of this inevitable situation, some internships had to be moved into cyberspace. This “new normal” impacted jobs and internships worldwide. Let’s see how things work now:

28. Due to the pandemic, 46.2% of students judged internships to be more valuable than before.

(Remote Internships)

In contrast to the 32.7% of the interns who see no changes in the value of their internships, 46.2% of them think that they became more valuable. Even though the average internship length has changed and the avenues of learning had to be adapted, internships are still seen as key developmental milestones.

On the other hand, 21% of students deemed internships to have decreased in importance.

29. For 70% of the students, canceling their internships due to COVID-19 seems fair.

(Yello)

There are different reactions to the current situation, and they are all reasonable. While 70% of interns feel discouraged but accept the cancelation, 26% feel very frustrated.

30. According to student statistics, a summer internship has been canceled for 37.6% of potential interns, and they couldn’t find another one.

(Remote Internships)

Summer internships are unique experiences. They’re a chance to grow, learn, and they might significantly influence your career.

Due to the cancelation of many internships, some students had to look for other internship opportunities or start interning remotely. Out of those whose opportunities have been canceled, 37.6% haven’t found another internship, while 14.2% have had their internship moved online, significantly contributing to remote internship statistics.

31. 51% of interns don’t prefer interning online, but appreciate that the internship wasn’t canceled altogether.

(Yello)

Today, the only solution to continue working or interning might be by moving it into virtual space. Nonetheless, 22% of the interns worry about the experience’s quality. In comparison, 51% of them are happy they aren’t canceled, at least. 

Unfortunately, just 12% of people prefer full-time remote work. The remainder would like to keep working in offices but with some drastic hygiene changes.

Internship Facts 2021: The Bottom Line

In the age of a crumbling economy, pandemic, and technological development, one must adjust to ongoing changes. They can do it by continuously learning. And what better way to gain knowledge than doing an internship?

Internships have a lot of benefits. More than half of internships are paid. For instance, an Amazon intern’s salary amounts to nearly $8,000 per month.

The stats above can be used as a guide for preparing to embark on this adventure. After all, a completed internship can only be a plus in your resume.