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A new CIPD report, Menopause in the workplace, finds 27% of women who have experienced the menopause say it has held them back in their career, with the results being worse for women with disabilities or from ethnic minorities.
Over a quarter of middle-aged women workers who have experienced menopause symptoms say that menopause has had a negative impact on their career progression, according to new research.
The survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development [CIPD] also found 36% of women with a disability or long-term health condition say their symptoms have had a negative impact on their career progression, compared with 24% who don’t have one. And 38% of women who identify as from an ethnic minority background say their symptoms have had a negative impact on their career progression, compared with 25% who are white.
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%).
However, the survey found feeling supported at work can make a considerable difference. 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).
Rachel Suff, senior policy adviser for wellbeing and employee relations at the CIPD, said: “Many employers have made progress with supporting those with menopause symptoms at work. However, this isn’t the case across the board and much more can be done. Organisations can’t afford not to support employees who are experiencing menopause symptoms if they want to retain a diverse range of talent. The CIPD’s 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.
“Line managers should be supported to have open and honest conversations about the support available. Everyone will experience menopause differently, so it’s about listening and offering support in ways that work for both the organisation and the employee.
“Offering flexible working and other helpful adjustments will go a long way to empowering employees to manage their symptoms and workloads, without compromising their careers.”
The CIPD is urging employers to encourage open conversations about menopause by sharing experiences and information; develop a menopause policy or guidance; offer a broad range of flexible working; ensure absence policies are fair; and understand that making simple adjustments can make a huge difference to employees’ wellbeing.