arrow-right cart chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up close menu minus play plus search share user email pinterest facebook instagram snapchat tumblr twitter vimeo youtube subscribe dogecoin dwolla forbrugsforeningen litecoin amazon_payments american_express bitcoin cirrus discover fancy interac jcb master paypal stripe visa diners_club dankort maestro trash

The Newsletter | Edition 075
Progress Report is dedicated to providing inspiration for action. But in this special newsletter series, The State Of, we dive a little deeper into the long-term work that comes after, in the places where we’re seeing new types of progress in action.



Abbie Wolf, Rikki Lee, Sara Reid Lewis, and Maria Graziella Brevi


Shiqi Cao and Joshua Greene


Being an intern before the rise of social media was much like being a rookie on a new sports team—starting as a benchwarmer, completely unproven without much expectation to deliver right away. Today, interns are entering the workforce like top recruits ready for immediate impact.

Here are the qualities and mindsets that your new Gen Z teammates, made up of innovators, trailblazers, and social media politicians, are bringing to the workplace.

1. Gen Z is Intentional: From Desperate / To Calculated
2. Gen Z is Daring: From Baby-Steps / To Accelerated Growth
3. Gen Z is Mindful: From Overworked / To Empowered


From Desperate / To Calculated

Before the rise of digitized communities, opportunities were scarce and students would take anything thrown at them—grabbing coffee for the office, stacking boxes, purging emails, etc. Today’s students have access to LinkedIn and other professional resources that act as sounding boards for their professional decisions. Everything and everyone is a DM, LinkedIn message, or Handshake post away.

With this inundation of opportunities, interns are faced with the challenge of filtering through to purpose-aligning job opportunities. Competitive compensation and professional development are the top priorities for 2021-2022 students when evaluating internships. This has forced companies to respond with better salary and benefits to break through the competitive field. Headlines at the beginning of the summer reported lucrative internship salaries including a $9,667 median monthly pay at Roblox. An intern in today’s world can pitch a product case for implementation to the C-Suite at Asurion or participate in a live Youtube Q&A with Roblox’s CTO over chicken wings. Now more than ever, interns are having to be calculated to research and apply for these unique opportunities.


Discuss career alignment and growth opportunities during the interview process. A conscious effort to discuss applicant goals and the resources available to achieve them will go a long way to attract and retain Gen Z talent.


From Baby-Steps / To Accelerated Growth

Twenty years ago interns were content with doing fruitless work in exchange for getting a “foot in the door.” However, today’s young professionals are expecting earlier opportunities to feed their passions while also promoting change in the world. Their yearning to trailblaze new paths and make an imprint has fueled passion projects, movements, and even actual businesses. According to WP Engine and the Center for Generational Kinetics, nearly two-thirds of Gen Z has started, or intends to start, their own business, and 48% have side hustles. Some have even found ways to monetize their expertise and personalities through social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

By Oxford’s definition, to be daring is to be adventurous or audaciously bold. Gen Z is both in the workplace. They crave opportunities that often explore uncharted territory and increasingly get excited about starting something new or doing what’s never been done before at companies. Setting up projects that require novel thinking, strategic planning, and bold input will empower these risk takers.


Help feed an intern’s curiosity and desire for impact by polling them for their interests, and giving them opportunities to work cross functionally to solve both internal and external challenges.


From Overworked / To Empowered

From an early age, Gen Z was initiated into the cycle of toxic drive—a highly competitive atmosphere with continuous pressure to be the best at the expense of physical health, mental health, and happiness. However, with more and more young children engaging in resumé boosting extracurriculars, and mental health rates becoming increasingly worse, it’s time to reevaluate how we define success.

Covid provided a platform for Gen Z to change this narrative. For Gen Z, Covid was the first time the world stopped moving around them. Many of them were taken aback by the stillness because the toxic drive cycle we were raised on taught us that being stationary does not drive success; “if you slow down you might disappear.” But Covid lockdowns created a space for internal reflection and room for virtual community where shared sentiments of burnout dominated the narrative. Gen Z embraced their freedom during Covid to explore their purpose—one that embraces holistic balance as an indicator of success.


Remember to set healthy work-life boundaries for yourself, and clearly communicate them to the interns you work with. As a more tenured teammate or intern manager, you lead by example.


On the other side of the Atlantic, internships are still heavily underpaid. In the Netherlands, the salary for internships is merely symbolic, ranging from 400 to 600 euros per month for a full time job, which is well below legal minimum wage. Internships are also often a mandatory part of universities’ curriculums, despite the fact that Dutch students despise the role that internships have taken today. Many of them struggle to make it to the end of the month without taking a loan (if they can access it). This very much clashes with the working culture of the country, where the laptop stays closed outside of working hours and enjoyment is prioritized over success. Conversations around this have taken place on a local governmental level but any change is only a distant vision. Similarly, in other countries in the European Union, internships have become a way to delay the entrance of young people into the job market and deny a living wage.

While American interns are leaning into competitively paid opportunities and thrown into challenging opportunities for impact, there is a long way to go for many Europeans.

Shopping Cart