Whilst firms like Credit Suisse are offering returnships for women wanting to return to work and organisations are campaigning for increased representation for women working at board level (30% Club), other firms are responding to a different challenge.
One of the main barriers is the culture of presenteeism that pervades the City – working long hours and being visible in the office for the sake of demonstrating one’s commitment to the firm. This is incompatible with what many might consider to be a healthy work-life balance and family priorities. These factors create a point at which many talented people – predominantly women – are lost from the workforce. It can also lead to an increased sense of exclusion as decisions and collaboration often take place when they are not in the office. Given the technology at our disposal to work differently in the twenty-first century, an alternative approach is clearly required.
Employers who cannot accommodate the changing life circumstances of their employees and provide an environment in which they can continue to develop their careers are potentially cutting themselves off from a talent pool that they can ill afford to in the age of fierce global competition. What’s more, it is increasingly shown to be an inefficient way of working.
There are many highly-skilled women with extensive City experience in financial services, who simply have no outlet for their skills and experience which is compatible with the hours demanded by these institutions. Opportunities need to be provided to help woman continue to work and develop their careers and meet other commitments. Also, many financial services companies have invested thousands in their development and training, only to let it go to waste. It is essential to try and find a way to hold on to that investment within the industry.
Financial technology companies and other institutions need to think about ways they can incorporate more flexibility into their working environment. Any cost in offering reduced hours or job shares is likely to be mitigated by preventing the haemorrhage of talented staff, both female and male, from the financial services world simply because it does not fit with their family priorities. It is undeniable that it is time for the industry to consider an alternative approach to prevent the current talent and investment drain.
Tina is the co-founder of E2W and has been instrumental in planning and leading the growth of the business drawing from her experience of over 15 years sales and marketing experience in the financial services industry at renowned institutions such as the London Stock Exchange and Credit Suisse. Then she became a mother. Tina co-founded E2W 10 years ago to address the challenges created by financial services firms that limited the work/life choices of their employees. E2W employs women in Tina’s mirror image: they’ve had successful City careers; they’re talented and hardworking but the culture change at the heart of business is not happening fast enough. They are not prepared to sacrifice work/life balance at the altar of what are still some very outdated workplace practices.
E2W gives choices to this highly talented resource pool to remain in the workplace by offering a flexible, inclusive working environment and a path to return to the City if they so choose. E2W offers clients a tailored service that shares this invaluable experience and which helps the clients uniquely position themselves for growth.