the adviser logo

Finance firms should roll out the red carpet for female interns

by Malavika Santhebennur12 minute read

If female school or university students volunteer for work experience in finance, organisations have a “duty” to offer it to them, according to a senior funds management executive.

Camilla Love, director at Perennial Investment Management and founder of F3, has lamented that organisations continue to only offer internships to those with prior work experience in finance.

According to Ms Love, more opportunities need to be given to younger candidates, including school and university students, to ensure better diversification in the finance industry.

As such, Ms Love founded F3 to educate young women (from year 10 to the end of university) about careers in finance (for example, through career days or via podcasts) and provide them with work experience and internships.


“I recently had a female candidate who said she was in the last round for an internship but didn’t get it because she didn’t have any prior work experience in finance,” Ms Love told The Adviser ahead of the inaugural Women in Finance Summit 2023.

“But it’s an internship. This is meant to be her work experience in finance. It’s these dumb things that really could drive girls away from finance because they think no one will take them on because they don’t have work experience in finance. So, they might not bother anymore.”

Ms Love asserted that finance companies have a “duty” to offer internships and work experience to young women who volunteer.

“Why don’t we try to encourage women rather than set them back at their first hurdle?” she asked.

“We must arm the next generation of female talent with the knowledge of what the financial services industry does. If we don’t break down those barriers, they’ll go to Apple or Google or other big brand names they’ve grown up with instead of the hundreds of wonderful, strong, globally renowned financial services businesses in Australia.”

Her comments preceded the first-ever Women in Finance Summit 2023, where she and a panel of speakers will discuss how to empower women in financial services and build a strong future, and how to create an inclusive industry that attracts and retains more women.

According to Ms Love, F3 aims to do this by providing online work experience placements, particularly for female university students alongside a mentor and a corporate partner.

During their six-week program, the students are asked to solve a business problem, at the end of which they are asked to provide a solution.

Ms Love added that she offers placements to students regardless of their HSC ATAR, choice of university or degree, or their performance in university courses, and hopes that other financial services companies would do the same.

“If students have put their hand up and self-selected to do work experience in financial services, they should get it regardless of any of the above,” she said.

Ms Love said she is determined to debunk misconceptions of what finance is, and the skills required to succeed in it (including whether candidates are required to have a strong acumen in mathematics).

“There’s a maths component to it but at the end of the day, it’s a people business. We have to show that it’s a collegiate, supportive industry, in which people can find purpose,” Ms Love underscored.

“I’ve got a girl who came to me in year 10 for work experience. She then did a business degree and came back for work experience while at university. That’s a whole cycle.”

Noting that retention of female employees is also challenging in finance, the funds management executive urged businesses to introduce flexible workplace policies for women, particularly as women take career breaks to have families or assume other caring responsibilities.

“Workplaces must create an inclusive and authentic culture that enables women to reskill and be supported to re-enter the industry that they’ve had a history with,” she said.

“I recently talked to a female CEO of a family business. Her chief investment officer is a female and she’s got a number of females in her investment team. I told her that was possible because she’s a successful leader. She’s created the pipeline of people to follow her.”

She concluded: “Having that leadership piece is critical.”

To hear more from Camilla Love about the tools and support systems available to women in finance and how to increase representation across generations, come along to the Women in Finance Summit 2023.

It will be held on Friday, 10 November 2023 at The Star, Sydney.

Click here to buy tickets so you don’t miss out!

For more information, including agenda and speakers, click here.

[Related: First-ever Women in Finance Summit launches]

camilla love f  ta jmajtn

Malavika Santhebennur


Malavika Santhebennur is a content specialist at Momentum Media, focusing on mortgages and finance writing.

Before joining Momentum Media in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media, where she was writing about financial services.


You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member for free today!
Read the latest issue of The Adviser magazine!
The Adviser is the number one magazine for Australia's finance and mortgage brokers. The publications delivers news, analysis, business intelligence, sales and marketing strategies, research and key target reports to an audience of professional mortgage and finance brokers
Read more