MRA Hot Topic Survey Shows 79 Percent Consider Hiring an Intern

May 10, 2022
Press Release
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MRA Hot Topic Survey Shows 79 Percent Consider Hiring an Intern

MILWAUKEE, WI (May 10, 2022) — As employers continue to struggle with labor shortages, MRA—The Management Association conducted a survey regarding internships and seasonal employment as viable short-term solutions. The MRA Hot Topic Survey: Hiring Interns & Seasonal Employees shows 79 percent of survey participants will be or are considering hiring an intern this year.

MRA’s survey also found that five percent of employers surveyed are offering unpaid internships, while the majority (83 percent) are now offering paid internships. Unpaid internships are quickly becoming an offer of the past. Following is the average rate of top hourly pay for intern positions surveyed:

  1. $15. 38 Engineering Interns
  2. $14.98 Manufacturing/Operations/Quality Interns
  3. $14.40 Health and IT Interns
  4. $13.51 Accounting Interns

Job duties are the major factor used to determine pay ranges for interns (indicated by 22 percent of respondents). Flexible work schedules (29 percent), remote work opportunities (11 percent), and mentorship programs (10 percent) top the key benefits organizations are offering interns.

The most popular strategy to recruit interns shown in this study are partnerships with colleges/schools (27 percent). Word of mouth, employee referrals, and continuous recruiting efforts are also popular. Summer internships (with a duration of about 3 months) is the most popular internship (45 percent of respondents). Survey respondents also shared that 41 percent of interns are brought on to assist in operational tasks. In addition, 50 percent of companies indicate that the goal of their internship program is a first step toward a full-time role. The greatest factor preventing companies from starting an internship program is lack of resources and being unsure of the organization’s intern strategy.

“We are finding that many companies are looking to hire interns as part of their long-term hiring strategy, and employers are looking to retain the interns through offering many of the same benefits they offer their employees,” said Courtney Lamers, MRA’s Intern Leadership Program Coordinator.

“This gives the interns experience, but also makes them feel like a valued team member, which is a critical goal for any internship effort.”

Other benefits suggested by Lamers to enhance the internship experience include:

  • Having lunch with the CEO/senior team leadership for added exposure
  • Mentor programs
  • Swag bag on desk on first day
  • Summer golf outings/baseball games
  • Flexible hours

The MRA survey also inquired about seasonal employees for employers looking for a more informal hiring solution. Seasonal employees are a less-structured approach to filling short-term openings. Forty percent of respondents are considering or will be hiring seasonal employees this year. The majority of these positions (45 percent) will be manufacturing, operations, or quality positions. Manufacturing positions have been difficult to recruit for over the past year, and businesses looking to hire seasonal manufacturing staff are planning to pay $14.79/hour on average, with the maximum rate of pay for seasonal manufacturing employees being reported at $20.00/hour.

Added Lamers, “As labor shortages continue to be a challenge for employers, internships and seasonal employment can be a viable short-term solution for peak business times. In some cases, they can also turn into successful long-term opportunities providing value to the employer as well as the employee.”

For this Hot Topic Survey, 236  organizations participated in the 19-question survey which was conducted April 13-20, 2022.To see the full survey results or more MRA Hot Topic Surveys,  visit the MRA website.


About MRA—The Management Association: Founded in 1901, MRA is a nonprofit employer association that serves 4,000 employers, covering more than 1 million employees worldwide. As one of the largest employer associations in the nation, MRA helps its members thrive by offering comprehensive HR services, talent management, learning and organization development opportunities, and total rewards planning. MRA helps organizations build a successful workplace and powerful workforce. Headquartered in Wisconsin, MRA has regional offices in Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota. To learn more about MRA, visit