As industries continue to lose employees in large amounts amidst the Great Resignation, companies are willing to do whatever it takes to hire new talent. And potential employees and interns have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating things like compensation and benefits packages.
Wall Street, in particular, has responded to this unique job economy by increasing intern compensation significantly.
Recent data from Wall Street Oasis, an online investment banking and finance community, shows that if summer analyst interns worked year round at their monthly salary, they'd have made $85,000 in salary and bonuses last year. Summer associate interns even more, making an equivalent of $147,000 in salary and bonuses.
Now, according to Bloomberg, interns at top investment firms are earning 37.2% more for this internship season, while interns at other large banks make 36.9% more. Bloomberg also reports that Jane Street, a proprietary trading firm, is paying interns a whopping $16,356 on average this year.
Patrick Curtis, the founder of Wall Street Oasis, says this is only a glimpse of what's to come, and it's extremely competitive.
"The super high salaries are really for people who are exceptional and in the quantitative field," Curtis tells CNBC Make It. "These firms need really technical, brilliant people and they're willing to spend that money to give them a taste of what they could potentially have post graduation and try to recruit. And it's for those specific, chosen few who are coming from the MITs of the world and the best engineering schools."
Curtis also says, for some firms, the pay increase is directly related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"For the other investment banks, there has been a sudden surge in pay, and that's from interns all the way through like analysts. And that's mostly because of Covid. And because of the outrage of what this job becomes when you're forced to be at home alone."
Curtis explains that, in many cases, the most "redeeming qualities" of the job are the friendships and relationships made in the office. However, many companies are still working via remote or hybrid models. Recognizing how challenging this may be, investment banks have now upped the ante.
But they're not the only ones.
Tech companies have also shown a significant increase in intern pay this year. Roblox offers the highest paying internship this year, with interns making almost $10,000 in median monthly pay. Out of the top ten highest paying internships, as recently ranked by Glassdoor, nine of them are in tech.
This has made it harder for Wall Street investment banks and firms to stand out.
"It's tough for Wall Street, because they are traditionally a little bit more conservative," says Curtis. "They're not going to have the ping pong tables and the free snacks. They're finance-oriented people by nature; they think about profit much more than tech or just growth. So I think it's hard for Wall Street to compete… I think they are trying to compete on the pay front."