Although the average age for menopause in the UK is 51, the menopausal symptoms can start years before that. For some women they can be debilitating and can impact their performance and attendance at work, with 1 in 4 women considering leaving the workplace due to their menopause symptoms.
For a very long time, menopause was considered a “women’s issue”, something that “they just need to get on with”. Over recent years, we’ve learnt that that is definitely not the case.
Menopause not only affects those who are going through it, but also their family members, friends and work colleagues.
All employers need to include menopause in their wellbeing and D&I initiatives.
These are some of the reasons why:
- Research by BUPA has shown that almost a million women have left their job because of their menopausal symptoms.
According to Oxford Economics, the cost of replacing one employee who earns £25k p.a is just over £30,000. This includes not just recruitment costs, but also the time it takes to bring a new employee up to speed and the time that other colleagues need to put into this process instead of other work they could be doing.
At a time when many organisations are finding it hard to fill vacancies, those businesses who support employees experiencing menopause will be better placed to retain them and continue to benefit from their knowledge and years of experience.
- Not every employee with severe menopause symptoms will choose to leave work but some will be forced to take long-term absence from work to manage their symptoms.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that Menopause costs the UK 14 million working days each year.
- Some of these women will be given a hard time at work in organisations which do not have sufficient knowledge and understanding about the menopause. Some will be pushed out of their jobs due to poor performance, which results from the impact that their menopause symptoms have on them.
Menopause is not a disability, but under the Equality Act, symptoms in some women can be so severe that they can be classed as a disability. We’re seeing an increase in menopause tribunal cases which costs employers:
- Money – the average cost for Employment Tribunals brought on by claims from unhappy employees is estimated at £8,500
The Gender Gap and Gender Pay Gap
Another compelling reason for implementing a workplace menopause initiative is that it will help you in closing the potential gender gap AND gender pay gap within your organisation.
The gender pay gap is the greatest around the age of 50 – which coincides with the average age for menopause. Late 40s and early 50s is the age when typically women are ready to step into the most senior role in their career.
The effects of their menopause symptoms, coupled with age discrimination and lack of menopause knowledge and support at work, means that many of these women will lose the confidence to apply for the biggest promotion in their lives.
Companies which successfully help female employees to manage their menopausal transition have the opportunity to retain their more experienced female staff and increase the pool of candidates for top roles. In turn, that could increase the chances of selecting quality candidates and future corporate leaders.
The bottom line is bound to benefit – according to management consultancy firm McKinsey, companies that have more gender diversity are more likely to experience “above-average profitability”
Another benefit worth considering is that you will not lose them to your competition who might already have menopause best practices in place.
Employees these days expect more than just a paycheck in return for their hard work.
Given that we spend more than half of our waking time working, there is no wonder money is no longer enough of an incentive for long stiffening Zoom meetings, tight deadlines for big projects, responding to emails outside working hours and managing the expectations of so many different stakeholders.
Employees are looking for organisations who show a genuine interest in their wellbeing and happiness at work.