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  • Internship & Co-op Report 2021

  • Summary

    When reading this report, it is critical to consider the timing for context. The data reported here are reflective of what internship and co-op programs became in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. NACE believes it is important to provide data during the pandemic to illustrate how college internship programs were impacted and what is to come for the future of these programs and college recruiting efforts.

    The 2021 Internship & Co-op Survey Report explores key aspects of employers’ internship and co-op programs, including hiring projections, conversion and retention rates, compensation data (wages and benefits), recruiting strategies, and information about program structure. This report also includes historical analyses of the data. Data collection took place from December 9, 2020, to February 5, 2021.

    Highlights include:

    • Overall, intern hiring for 2021 is expected to fall about 0.5%, and, for co-ops, hiring is projected to fall about 3%. Given the broad effects the pandemic has had on the workforce and labor market, the decreases—and especially the slight decrease in intern hiring projections—can be taken as a sign of the strategic value of these programs to hiring organizations.
    • Among employers who held an internship during the summer of 2020, approximately 72% did so virtually. Not surprisingly, those who held virtual internships reported that the quality of the networking and interactions with interns typically found in internships suffered.
    • Overall, most reported that the quality of their cohort’s work performance did not suffer but was consistent between in-person and virtual experiences.
    • Overall, men account for the majority of interns and co-ops of responding organizations, and the majority of those taking part in such programs are white. This is inconsistent with employer priorities around an inclusive workforce.
    • Conversion rates for Class of 2020 interns (66.4%) and co-ops (61.4%) were significantly higher than was the case in the past.
    • The average hourly wage for interns is $20.76. The average hourly wage for co-ops is $20.20.

    April 2021. 8 1/2" x 11”. 30 pages. PDF format.


    If your organization participated in the survey, or you purchased a copy of the report, you can access the report at MyNACE > Research Reports.

    View the accompanying 2021 Guide to Compensation for Interns & Co-ops report for detailed wage and benefit information by major, degree, year of study, company size, industry, and region. Save by purchasing the 2021 Internship & Co-op Report and Guide to Compensation for Interns & 2021 Co-ops Report Combo.