Intern programming is a pretty hot topic. As many summer interns are in their first few weeks or month of their summer internship, companies are already thinking about recruiting the next cohort. While interns do not usually fall under global mobility, many global mobility programs and their partners get called upon to support the mobility element of the experience for those interns that are coming into the office as opposed to only working remotely. There are a wide range of practices and policies at play when it comes to supporting interns in getting to and from and settled into their internship. While many companies toss a lump sum (of money) to the intern to use others provide actual housing and transportation resources, particularly in high cost challenging urban environments. 

But I want to introduce you to Amy Kobler. Amy is a member of the Consulting team at Plus Relocation and as a pretty recent graduate is probably the closest in age to those going through the intern experience. Amy recently tapped into some information on how companies can boost their diversity hiring of interns that I would like to share with you today. From Amy:

"Internships have been a way of life for college students for years now, but gender and race disparities have created an uneven playing field. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) “Key Steps for Boosting Diversity Hiring of Interns,” the majority of interns are (still) white men. 

Granted, there has been progress in recent years, with 3.4% more black interns in the 2020-21 school year than the 2019-20 school year, but women, Hispanic, and other marginalized communities remain underrepresented while white men dominate the playing field, especially in comparison to the overall composition of student population.

There are interesting takeaways to look at though. Consider that while Black women are often some of the most underrepresented, they tend to be the most likely to receive a full time offer post-graduation from their internship! This goes to show how important internships are at opening doors for fresh college grads to get their careers started, and when white men are monopolizing the opportunities, it makes it difficult for marginalized communities to get a foot in the door and ultimately start their own career down the line.

Employers have options to broaden their internship horizons and enhance DE&I within their company, and NACE has provided a few examples on the best ways to have the most inclusive recruiting process within the internship program which is what over 41% of students cited as being the most important part of bringing diversity into the program.

  1. Cast a wider net” – NACE states that employers should be looking at a wider variety of schools with a more diverse student body, being sure to examine the demographics of the schools they are pulling from. NACE also suggests using virtual recruiting to pull from schools that they can’t visit in person to be sure they have the most diverse pool of candidates possible.
  2. Conduct an equity audit of the internship cohort – Conducting equity audits will ensure that the cohort is diverse, being well represented, paid evenly, and can even audit the distribution of tasks and responsibilities within the interns.
  3. Use the internship program as a diversified pipeline to a diverse workforce – NACE recommends that the internship program should be the starting point for diversifying the workplace as a whole, using a diverse group of interns to lead into having a diverse group of new hires.
  4. Build off positive offer rates and conversions – Employers need to continue the current momentum of hiring female, Black, Hispanic, and other marginalized groups from interns to full-time employees. A large component here is ensuring that there is equitable representation within the internship cohort and allowing that to bleed into the workplace as they convert interns to employees.
  5. Provide relocation assistance to interns – Relocation is a key element in having a diverse playing field in the workforce. Allowing interns to move for the position breaks down barriers, geographical and beyond, to help broaden horizons and diversify.

Without a doubt, we would highly recommend reading through NACE's 2022 Internship & Co-op Survey Report. The data was collected last November 2022-January 2022 so companies may want to consider participating in the project this coming November. For additional posts related to interns, check out one of the following:

What's happening with intern programs in 2022? 

The ongoing impact of COVID-19 on corporate intern programs

Intern hiring projection rises 22.6%: NACE

15 best practices for internship programs