The E2W Group of companies was founded by husband and wife team Tina and Mark Freed.
Like many innovative companies, we created E2W because we believed we had a unique solution to a common problem.
In 2002, we experienced first-hand the personal frustrations of choosing between a career we loved and being the type of parents we wanted to be. We also recognised the wider business, social and economic folly of letting so many talented parents reluctantly leave city careers behind them because they felt they had no other choice.
To us, the potential was obvious. So we developed a solution for thousands of highly skilled, well-trained professionals who, given the right opportunity, would continue in or return to their financial services careers.
Initially our solution was to remove some of the barriers and offer flexible and agile working, with a family-friendly ethos, in an office environment close to women’s homes and their children’s schools.
But how could this enterprise work commercially? We approached the banks for help but, back in 2002, with no diversity and inclusion officers in the city, parents (and particularly women) were not high on anyone's agenda.
Undeterred and with a background in financial technology, we built respected service propositions around the resources that we felt would be most interesting to financial technology firms .
And our hunch paid off. Today these services remain a core part of E2W's business, and we have been retained by over 80 leaders in the field, including:
We have also supported smaller (often just beyond start-up) firms to grow.
We’ve grown internationally too. In 2008 we opened our office in the USA, followed by Singapore in 2011. Our reputation spreading, we also diversified by offering the same services to fund service firms, and have been retained by State Street, AIS, Alter Domus and Maples among others.
The financial services world began to change for the better. By 2015, Diversity and Inclusion was high up on the agenda of most financial institutions. Report after report showed that a diverse and inclusive workforce performs better and, encouraged by the Government, organisations began to recognise the economic and social benefits of ensuring that women are encouraged and able to be economically active.
This evolution created new opportunities for E2W. Banks needed a more a diverse workforce, and we had access to a vast network of women – women with an array of skills and experience looking for the next career move. Our women could be the next exco member or next women returner, next head of risk or next jobsharer, next BA contractor and a rising star.
In 2016, E2W launched its recruitment, contractor and consultancy businesses, and became the go-to place for banks to collect the gender dividend and for women to manage their financial services careers.
However, helping women make their next career move and/or secure the next contract was only half the battle. If we were to truly become the go-to place for women we needed to create a professionally run, active and supportive place for women to network, share, collaborate, be inspired and be represented.
And so we launched the E2W membership group in September 2016.
All this comes at a time when banks are looking to cut costs, are inundated with regulatory change, and are often short of office space and the skills sets required. As a result, they’re looking for innovative solutions, in line with our original proposition, and are joining financial technology companies in outsourcing project and business as usual work to E2W.
The next challenge we identified (and experienced first-hand) is the poor state of career advice for school children. In both the state and private sectors, too many students are leaving school without fully exploring potential careers, and with little knowledge of all the pathways into them.
As a result a significant proportion of school leavers are on the 'conveyor belt' to university, reading subjects that they are not passionate about, leading to unfulfilling careers (if they’re lucky), or 'falling off' and becoming disillusioned.
The world of opportunity for school leavers is changing fast. One example is the degree apprenticeships offered by most leading firms and professions - an exciting and compelling alternative to university.
E2W Enabling Futures has been established to help students make career decisions and support those that want to pursue non-university routes.
E2W have signed the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, a pledge for gender balance across financial services.
By signing the Charter, E2W have committed to implement four recommendations to improve gender diversity in financial services. The charter asks financial firms to support the progression of women into senior roles, set internal targets to improve diversity in the workforce, and publicly report on these goals.
As the go-to place for women to manage their financial services careers and for financial institutions wishing to claim the Gender Dividend, our gender diversity challenges are different from most firms.
By the nature of our business, each individual member of the E2W team is responsible and accountable for promoting gender diversity and inclusion to the industry, and ensuring our members maximise career opportunities.
We have set a target at board level to consider how we encourage men into our membership, and to promote and understand how their requirements can be addressed to build towards the long term goal of a gender neutral society.
Our internal diversity targets are to ensure that 75% of our senior management team remain female.
Our external targets are to:
We will publish progress against these targets on this website.
Passionate about what we do, the senior management of E2W give time to support other organisations that help and support women or young people. E2W also donate a proportion of profits to charities or sponsorship each year.