The majority of employers don’t acknowledge the impact of the menopause at work, according to a new survey.
Employers have a long way to go to better support women going through the menopause in the workplace, according to a survey for World Menopause Day.
The Ipsos MORI poll shows only around one in every 20 women aged 40-65 in work are aware of their employer offering proactive policies or support to women around the menopause. Six in 10 of those who have experienced three or more symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes or tiredness, would like to see their employer do more while over half (55%) say they would feel more positively about a company who had a menopause awareness programme.
Over a third (37%) would like their employers to offer access to specialist menopause advice from a third-party expert, 31% would like their employer to offer a menopause policy.
The survey shows over half (57%) of working women aged 40-65 have experienced three or more symptoms of the menopause, including hot flushes (47%), night sweats (41%) and feeling tired (35%). Only 12% say they have experienced no menopausal symptoms.
Moreover, nearly half of working women aged 40-65 have experienced three or more menopause symptoms while they are working (47%) – while hot flushes and feeling tired are the most common symptoms (both 38%), lacking in energy (28%) and headaches (24%) impact one in four. Two thirds of those (68%) of those with three or more symptoms have lost interest in their work (68%) or feel they have made mistakes.
Half of all women experiencing three or more symptoms have experienced at least one further detrimental impact on their working lives, including having their relationships with colleagues negatively impacted, having to reduce their working hours or considering resigning.
Nearly half (48%) of women experiencing three or more symptoms of menopause have not spoken to anyone at work about their experiences.
Those who have experienced menopausal symptoms are significantly more likely to turn to female colleagues than male; 45% have spoken to a female co-worker compared to only 1% who have turned to a male.
Just 40% of women and 27% of men aged 40-65 feel equipped to support a colleague experiencing menopause symptoms. Yet only 44% of women would attend menopause awareness training offered by their employer and only a third of men would do the same.
One organisation that has been highlighting its work on menopause awareness for World Menopause Day is insurance company Aviva. It has launched a menopause support app to supplement its awareness training sessions to encourage greater openness about the impact of the menopause at work.