Internships on the Rise Since Recession, SHRM Survey Finds


November 6, 2013

More than three-quarters of employers that offer internships pay their interns

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Since the start of the recession, 44 percent of organizations have increased the number of internships they offer, according to new research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

The results of SHRM’s Intern Survey, released today, also revealed that 34 percent of organizations offered more internships this year compared with 2012, while 58 percent had the same number of internships.

Seventy-one percent of organizations said they hired or have plans to hire interns this year. Forty-seven percent of organizations reported employing two to five interns this year, and 16 percent employed six to 10 interns.

“It is no secret that the recession hit the student population very hard,” said Tara Fournier, PHR, manager of member engagement at SHRM. “Landing an entry-level position is still challenging, and gaining experience through internships is incredibly important for that to happen.” Fournier manages SHRM’s 450 student chapters nationwide.

Most companies (89 percent) reported offering internships to undergraduate students, while one-half of organizations gave internships to graduate students and 17 percent extended such opportunities to high school students.

Almost all (93 percent) of survey respondents indicated that they consider internships to be relevant work experience. Approximately fourth-fifths of organizations have offered a full-time position to an intern after the completion of the internship.

(See HR Magazine’s November 2013 cover story on interns at

As for pay, more than three-quarters of organizations that offer internships pay their interns, and approximately three-fourths of paid interns received an hourly wage that is above the minimum wage. A common intern benefit was onsite parking (provided by 48 percent of employers offering internships), followed by paid holidays (18 percent) and housing assistance or temporary housing (7 percent).

The survey also showed:

  • Organizations reported recruiting interns most commonly through employee referrals (48 percent), on-campus college recruiting (41 percent), online college recruiting (38 percent) and informal networking (29 percent).
  • Summer is the most common time for high school and undergraduate students to work as interns. But more than one-half of internships for graduate students take place year-round or do not have a specific time period.

The survey included responses from 359 randomly selected HR professionals at organizations of all sizes throughout the United States.

The full survey is available online at

SHRM’s HR Magazine also created a slideshow to supplement the internship survey findings. The presentation can be found online at

For more surveys/poll findings, visit Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

Media: For more information or to request an interview, contact Vanessa Gray at 703-535-6072 and or Kate Kennedy of SHRM Public Affairs at 703-535-6260 and

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing about 260,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and the United Arab Emirates. Visit SHRM Online at and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.


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