This report is based on a survey of over 2,000 women, aged 40 to 60, who are currently employed in the UK and could be experiencing menopause transition. By looking at the type of menopause symptoms being experienced and their impact at work, we explore the difference workplace support can make and the importance of creating a healthy workplace culture. 

We look at the types of adjustments that are seen to be most helpful when managing symptoms at work such as flexible working and ability to control temperature. We also explore the impact of menopause symptoms on employees’ ability to stay in and progress at work.

The report also provides helpful recommendations for organisations on how they can better support their employees. 

While these findings are based on UK data, the broader trends and implications should be of interest wherever you are based.

Menopause in the workplace: Employee experiences in 2023

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Key findings

Most working women (aged 40 to 60) have experienced symptoms related to menopause transition and over half have been unable to go into work at some point due to menopause symptoms

  • 73% of employees surveyed have experienced symptoms related to menopause transition. 
  • The most common symptoms reported are psychological such as mood disturbances, anxiety, depression, memory loss, panic attacks, loss of confidence and reduced concentration. These are reported by two-thirds (67%).
  • Two-thirds (67%) of women (aged 40 to 60 in employment) with experience of menopausal symptoms say they have had a mostly negative effect on them at work. 
  • Over half of respondents (53%) were able to think of a time when they were unable to go into work due to their menopause symptoms.

Workplace support makes a considerable difference but only a quarter say their organisation has a menopause policy or other support

  • 84% of people who are unsupported say their menopause symptoms have a mostly negative effect on them at work compared with 71% who are supported.
  • Individuals feel most supported by their colleagues with regards to their menopause.
  • Around a quarter (24%) say their organisation has a stated menopause policy or other support measures in place. This leaves a substantial 43% that don’t and a third that don’t know.

Written policies and support networks are the most common forms of workplace support but flexible working and ability to control temperature are seen as most helpful to manage menopause symptoms at work

  • Organisations that have support are most likely to have written policies (47%) and menopause support networks (46%).
  • Despite respondents saying flexible working and ability to control temperature are the most helpful measures, only 26% and 25% say their organisation offers these.
  • A high proportion (67%) feel that the move to more organisations supporting home and hybrid working will make dealing with menopause symptoms easier.

More than a quarter say the menopause has had a negative impact on their career progression 

  • 19% say menopause symptoms have had a quite negative impact and 8% say the impact has been very negative.
  • Whether or not someone has a disability or long-term health condition, or identifies as white or ethnic minority does make a significant difference:
    • 36% of women with a disability or long-term health condition say their symptoms have had a quite or very negative impact on their career progression compared with 24% who don’t have one.
    • 38% of women who identify as ethnic minority say their symptoms have had a quite or very negative impact on their career progression compared with 25% who are white.

Employers are losing around one in six people due to a lack of support

  • Around one in six people (17%) have considered leaving work due to a lack of support in relation to their menopause symptoms, and a further 6% have left work.
  • Having a disability or long-term health condition makes a significant difference with around one in 12 (8%) women in this situation having left work and a further one in four (24%) considering it (compared with 5% and 14%, respectively, of those without a disability or long-term health condition).
  • More than 10% of people feel discriminated against because of their menopausal symptoms.

Recommendations

Organisations can better support their employees by:

  1. Opening up the culture and encouraging conversations about menopause.
  2. Developing a supportive framework.
  3. Creating a strong and supportive culture around flexible working. 
  4. Managing health and absence in a fair and flexible way.
  5. Educating and training line managers.

Policy-makers are encouraged to:

  1. Reference all stages of menopause transition as a priority issue in the UK Government’s public policy agenda on work, equality, diversity and inclusion.
  2. Develop a methodology to quantify the cost of menopause on the individual, businesses and the UK economy.
  3. Launch a collaborative and government-backed employer-led campaign to raise awareness of the importance of menopause as a workplace issue, working in conjunction with the Menopause Employment Champion.

Explore our range of resources on supporting employees experiencing menopause symptoms

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