How to Engage Gen Z in Internship Programs

Work meeting with a woman speaking.
Work meeting with a woman speaking.

Gen Z-ers have started to enter the workforce. It is not enough to simply know the characteristics of this generation. It is now up to businesses and marketers to understand this generation’s wants and needs in relation to work and apply those results to actively engage Gen Z in internship programs and potential careers.

Internships are increasingly popular for Gen Z members. There is a real trend toward getting real world professional experience and holding multiple roles within an organization earlier than ever (DeZube, 2017). Furthermore, this generation is looking to gain experience from many different organizations and are willing to try out many different internships. Gen Z-ers want to know that the company they are working for aligns with their values and will help them advance in their career. Interviews will be two-way, and Gen Z will be evaluating the business similarly to how the business is evaluating them as an individual.

So, how can businesses and marketers engage Gen Z in internship programs? Gen Z is doing a lot of research before choosing a company with which to work. Businesses and marketers should make the benefits of the internship easily discernible and available to potential applicants. This includes listing whether an internship is paid or unpaid, whether there are opportunities for connection with others at all levels in the organization, whether there is opportunity for advancement, whether projects can be used in their personal portfolio, and whether they will gain valuable job experience for their resume or school credit (DeZube, 2017). Making these benefits easily accessible as well as providing previous interns’ testimonials and examples of previous interns’ completed projects help Gen Z-ers engage with internship programs and want to get involved (DeZube, 2017). It is important to engage with Gen Z through internship programs as this generation will soon be the generation that represents the target market for many businesses (Magee, 2020). Therefore, understanding this generation’s thought-processes is essential and can help businesses develop better product or service offerings. In the end, businesses and marketers must understand Gen Z’s wants and needs and effectively communicate how those wants and needs can be fulfilled through engaging in internship programs to increase future profitability and relevance.


DeZube, D. (2017, January 19). Need interns? Get to know Generation Z. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from

Magee, A. (2020, September 10). SAP BrandVoice: Don’t throw away Your SHOT: Hiring and Retaining Gen Z. Forbes. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from