A new CIPD report reveals that, despite recent advances in workplace support, some employers need to do more to recognise and address the impact of menopause symptoms – particularly for those who may already face disadvantage at work.
Menopause in the workplace: Employee experiences in 2023 explores employees’ experiences of menopause at work, based on a survey of over 2,000 women, aged 40 to 60, who are currently employed and have experienced menopause symptoms.
The research shows that a lack of support can have a negative impact on career progression and even causes some women to leave the workplace entirely, but feeling supported at work can make a considerable difference. The report calls for line managers to receive training so they can learn more about menopause symptoms and feel able to have open and honest conversations about the support that is available.
Key findings include:
- Over a quarter of women (27%) aged 40-60 in the UK who are currently in employment and have experienced menopause symptoms – an estimated 1.2 million* – say that menopause has had a negative impact on their career progression.
- These impacts are heightened for those who have a disability, long-term health condition, or identify as an ethnic minority.
- Two-thirds (67%) of women with experience of menopausal symptoms say they have had a mostly negative effect on them at work. A wide range of impacts are reported, including feeling less able to concentrate (79%) and an increased amount of stress (68%).
- Those who feel unsupported by their employer are more likely to report having felt an increased amount of pressure (55% of those who feel unsupported, compared to 43% of those who feel supported) or stress (75% of those who feel unsupported, compared to 68% of those who feel supported).
The report recommends key actions for employers:
- Create an open culture and encourage conversations about menopause – providing information and sharing experiences can help to involve all employees and managers in these conversations.
- Develop a supportive framework and be clear on practical help that is available. This could include a specific menopause policy or guidance as well as support for those experiencing symptoms.
- Offer a broad range of flexible working options to suit a variety of roles.
- Make sure that absence management policies are fair and flexible so that they don’t unfairly penalise someone experiencing ongoing menopause symptoms.
- Educate and train line managers so they are aware of menopause symptoms and organisational support. Training should include how to be approachable and to have sensitive one-to-one conversations.
- Understand that simple adjustments to working environments can make a significant difference to someone’s comfort. For example, looking at ways to cool the workplace, providing easy access to cold drinking water and washrooms, and adapting uniforms to improve comfort.**
* Figure obtained by applying survey proportions to population using figures from the annual population survey January-December 2022, showing 6,151,924 women aged 40-60 in the UK are in employment. Percentage and number that are experiencing or have experienced symptoms of the menopause = 73% or 490,905. Percentage and number that said symptoms had a negative impact on career progression = 27% or 1,212,544
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