Women in Financial Services Blog

Flexible Working in the Corporate Finance World

Flexible Working in the Corporate Finance World

Tina.Freed / 03 Sep 2015

The financial services sector is a people industry, where talent is the most important resource. However, the industry is wasteful in its approach to the talent pool, drawing a majority of its executive and board members from a very small area of the population.
A study by the National Council for Research on Women, a US organisation working to end gender inequality, highlights the issue. The situation is very similar across Europe. However, in recent years the environment has begun to change, as finance companies realise it could be worth their while to make the workplace more welcoming to women.
On top of this, there are an ever increasing number of families where both parents have finance careers and both want to be involved in childcare, from this stems a rapidly changing workplace.
According to a survey by the Institute of Leadership and Management, the UK management body, 82 per cent of managers think that flexible working is beneficial to their businesses. It helps with the retention of staff, while many managers (and most employees working flexibly) believe it improves productivity.
Flexible working to support family life within the finance sector is becoming culturally acceptable in the UK and around the globe.
E2W a company which was founded in the UK in 2000, now boasts a global network which includes offices in London, Zurich, Singapore and New York. From each of their offices they have developed a unique talent pool which totals over 500 Financial Market experts.
E2W was set up to address the problems faced by women working in traditionally male industries. As these women experience a number of disadvantages, such as barriers to networking and a lack of informal mentoring, as well as the challenges of childcare logistics.
“The advantage for an employer is a more diverse, more talented workforce,” says Tina Freed co-founder of E2W which is a professional network for working women. “At E2W, we support managers and team members to find arrangements that fit to the individual as well as to the team”.
Women in the finance industry with childcare commitments forces them to leave punctually, however, they tend to be more focused and efficient, according to numerous studies.
“I try to make very efficient use of my time,” says an employee at E2W. She leaves promptly at 2.00pm to pick up her two children from school and is able to get them home every day in time to feed, bathe and put her children to bed. “It has brought some balance to my life that I lacked.” Although she works fewer hours, she says “my financial career has flourished as I have managed to find a good work/life balance and other people in a similar position to me who I have told about my current working arrangement have reacted positively and said they would like to have that opportunity within their organisation.”
There is unanimity among those working with E2W that the environment in the finance industry is changing.

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