Today marks World Menopause Day, a day designated to raise awareness of the menopause and support the improvement of health and wellbeing for women in mid-life and beyond.
Menopause support in the workplace has become an ever-increasingly recognised need for employers who wish to improve their health and wellbeing provision.
New research carried out by Opinium on behalf of Peppy has found that more than half (55%) of employers have seen demand for menopause support increase in the past two years. The same is true over a five-year period, with nearly two-thirds of employers seeing this increased appetite for employer-sponsored menopause support.
Kathy Abernethy, Director of Menopause Services at Peppy said:
“Organisations are witnessing an increased demand for menopause support from their staff and we don’t see this trend slowing anytime soon. We have conversations with employers who might not have considered budgeting for menopause support in the past, or thought their more general employee benefits provision was adequate; however, they now realise that they must prioritise this type of specialist support.”
Offering menopause support is expected to improve recruitment and retention
The research shows that almost all (9 out of 10) employers who currently offer menopause support expect this offering to be more attractive to job seekers of menopause age; similarly 88% expect to be better able to retain staff of menopausal age.
Peppy’s experience of working with employers across a number of different sectors, bears this out: while there are very striking health benefits for individual employees who engage with menopause support, the organisation as a whole can also anticipate a direct benefit too, attracting and retaining this important, experienced demographic.
Earlier this year, the FTSE Women Leaders Review, (spearheaded by Liz Truss, then Minister for Women and Equalities, now Prime Minister), made recommendations for new targets to help ensure women are fairly represented in corporate leadership and on boards.
Peppy believes that organisations of all sizes will take this approach on board, and the recruitment and retention of senior women will be a laser focus for employers.
Employers behind the curve on menopause support
Despite the recognised increase in demand over the last five years, many employers still feel they are behind the curve when it comes to menopause support. Some even said that it’s not on their radar at all as a current or potential offering.
The research showed that:
- 17% of HR leaders thought that their organisation was a ‘little’ bit behind others in terms of the support they offer.
- 6% believe that they are ‘way behind’ others
- 13% said that menopause support was not on their radar or something they are particularly interested in offering at present
Kathy Abernethy said:
“Many early adopters offered menopause support because they wanted to do the right thing, and recognised the impact of not doing so, and others are now quickly following suit as they can’t afford to be an outlier in their industry. Either way – employees will benefit from a greater number of organisations offering them support. Those who don’t get up to speed with offering support are likely to suffer as a consequence.”
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Businesses are directly affected when menopause is not supported
Kate Whitelock, Head of Wellbeing at YuLife, believes menopause is the unspoken reason for women leaving the workforce and what workplaces must recognise is the risk of losing senior talent.
This is reinforced by Peppy’s research which showed that 38% of employers say that staff have left their organisation due to menopause symptoms.
As well as this, 64% of HR leaders say that their organisation had experienced sickness and absence due to menopause-related symptoms.
It’s clear that not having menopause support in place can be detrimental to employers when it comes to retaining and reducing absence within this demographic of employees.
What menopause support is currently offered?
According to the research, mental wellbeing support targeted at midlife women is the most common of the types of support offered to menopausal employees, at 37%.
This is followed by:
- Healthy lifestyle support for midlife women (i.e. fitness, nutrition) (35%)
- Information / enhanced information on company or employee benefits portal (31%)
- More general employee benefits that include some menopause support (31%)
- Training for line managers / board on menopause issues (31%)
What are the biggest areas for growth?
The areas of menopause support identified as set for the biggest growth are:
- Information / enhanced information on company or employee benefits portal (26%)
- Training for line managers / board on menopause issues (25%)
- In-person menopause support groups (i.e. menopause cafes) (23%)
- More general employee benefits that include some menopause support (22%)
- Training and information targeted at male colleagues about menopause issues (21%) / Mental wellbeing support targeted at midlife women (21%)
The research concludes that while it is good to see employers offering a variety of menopause support, employers should ensure that support is personalised, targeted and offered by specialists in order to make a real difference.
Kathy Abernethy adds:
“There are clear benefits of providing menopause support for employers and their employees, as well as very real ramifications of not doing so. Menopause support is not a trending employee benefit or a fad that will disappear next year. There are over 15m women in employment and nearly a third of those are over 50, so employers need to recognise their needs. Menopause needs to be treated in the same way as any other specialist support needed within the workplace – especially if employers are serious about recruiting, retaining and promoting this demographic.”
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