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Women’s Health: Menopause in the Workplace

1 Oct 2023

In this latest article, Compass Executives Senior Associate, Louise Steer, highlights the importance of raising awareness of the impact that menopause can have on women’s health.

With October being World Menopause Awareness Month and the 18th October marking World Menopause Day, it is important to keep dialogue open regarding this incredibly important topic, not just at home but also in the workplace.

Some of the statistics below highlight that importance:

  • Professor Jo Brewis, co-author Government Report on Menopause, has raised concerns that ‘menopausal women are the fastest growing workforce demographic’, which has also been highlighted by the Office of National Statistics and can often require additional support.
  • The Faculty of Occupational Medicine(FOM) states that nearly 8 out of 10 women of menopausal age are in work.
  • Many women experience symptoms that can negatively impact their work, and 1 in 4 could experience serious symptoms.
  • According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), 3 out of 5 working women between the ages of 45 and 55 who are experiencing menopause symptoms say it has a negative impact on them at work.
  • One in three of the workforce will soon be over 50, and retirement ages are now 68.
  • This is a significant issue, as women make up 77% of the NHS workforce.

Signs and symptoms of the menopause and the impact it can have on women’s professional and personal lives

Menopausal symptoms can have a significant impact on women at work. The most commonly reported difficulties that menopausal women report at work include poor concentration, tiredness, poor memory, feeling low/depressed and lowered confidence. Problematic hot flushes at work have also been linked to women having a higher intention to leave the workforce.

Other symptoms of menopause that can impact working life include:

  • Sleep disturbances: Menopausal women may experience difficulty sleeping, which can lead to fatigue and irritability.
  • Mood changes: Menopause can cause mood swings, anxiety, and depression, which can affect work performance and relationships with colleagues.
  • Joint pain: Menopause can cause joint pain and stiffness, which can make it difficult to perform certain tasks at work.
  • Urinary incontinence: This can cause embarrassment and anxiety, which can affect work performance and self-esteem.

How can employers support the menopause in the workplace?

Women’s Health Concern has set out some guidelines on steps employers can take to support women going through menopause:

  1. Provide training for managers and HR staff to help them understand the menopause and its impact on women’s health.
  2. Consider making reasonable adjustments to the workplace, such as providing fans or air conditioning, flexible working arrangements, and access to occupational health services.
  3. Signpost to appropriate support channels for employees and their families.

It is important to ensure that employers support their management teams in understanding the menopause and how they can support their employees. They should also be aware of the indirect effects of the menopause on people such as spouses/significant others and family members and friends of individuals experiencing menopause. The transition can put additional pressures on relationships, it is therefore important for managers to signpost to appropriate support and guidance.

The UK Government has also released guidance on how employers can support the menopause in the workplace. Information on this can be found here.

How Compass Executives support women in the workplace

Compass Executives feel that by the typical age a woman will be going through the menopause she will have gained a wealth of experience in the work place no matter what role she is fulfilling. It is critical to the immense efforts we put into recruiting diverse executive teams for our Life Science and Healthcare clients that every effort is taken to not then lose these women at this stage of their life.

From education comes awareness, from awareness comes sensitivity and from there a greater sense of belonging and self-worth. Whilst we are a recruitment business, and typically focus on attraction strategies; we at Compass Executives, believe firmly in the holistic values in creating and maintaining retention strategies too. What better strategy, than one where valuable and well-trained, experienced women can not only see a clear path to remaining with their company but thriving in that company too.

 Further support, guidance and information are provided from the below sources

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