42% of women consider leaving their job because of the menopause

Along with The Latte Lounge, we surveyed 500 women who were experiencing perimenopause or menopause symptoms. We wanted to find out how menopause was impacting their working lives.

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The physical and psychological symptoms of menopause can start for some women in their 30s and last for more than ten years. These symptoms can have an enormous impact on every part of a woman's life, especially her work life. They can be hugely disruptive to an individual's wellbeing.

Along withThe Latte Lounge, we surveyed 500 women who were experiencing perimenopause or menopause symptoms. We wanted to find out how menopause was impacting their working lives. 97% of the women surveyed were aged between 41 and above; 60% were experienced mid-level professionals and 25% were in senior management or leadership roles.

As the Latte Lounge’s CEO and Founder Katie Taylor said, “I know first hand how awkward it can be to talk about your menopause symptoms whilst at work – it’s one of the main reasons why I left my own job."

While businesses are starting to move in the right direction, menopause is still not something that's spoken about enough in our workplaces. Companies need to do more to accommodate people going through this inevitable transition and to break the silence around it. Here are some of the most interesting results from our survey.

Impaired cognitive function, like brain fog, was found to be more of a challenge than the physical symptoms

We asked the women to share the symptoms they experienced during perimenopause and menopause. The top six answers were all related to mental health and cognition rather than physical symptoms:

Tiredness or a lack of energy    87%

Brain fog or difficulty concentrating    87%

Anxiety     84%

Difficulty sleeping    83%

Poor memory      79%

Low mood or depression   77%

In terms of physical symptoms, the top response was sweating (75%) followed by weight gain (73%). We spoke to our Medical Director, Gidon Lieberman about this. He said that “most people tend to instantly think of hot flushes and sweats when it comes to the menopause.  In truth, it’s the impairment to mental wellbeing and brain function which can be the most debilitating. This is where workplaces should really be focusing their efforts when it comes to supporting their employees”.

HRT uptake to help with menopause symptoms is low

53% have not used Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to manage their symptoms, while 47% have turned to natural therapies.

As Dr Gidon Lieberman said, “This low uptake is most likely due to a combination of fears over the perceived risks associated with HRT and a lack of access to menopause trained GPs or specialists.

For most women, the risks of taking HRT are extremely low. The benefits of replacing lost hormones on the other hand are numerous; from improving hot flushes, night sweats, concentration and mood, as well as the long term protection against thinning bones (osteoporosis) and lowering the risks of heart disease.

Naturally, it is important to undergo a full consultation with a trained GP or consultant before starting a treatment programme but an overwhelming majority of patients do report vast improvements once HRT is commenced". If you're a Fertifa patient and looking to speak to someone about HRT, get in touch with your Patient Advisor through the app.

Talking about menopause at work remains an uncomfortable topic

According to our survey, 70% of women did not speak with their employer about their symptoms. 53% of these women felt it “wasn’t necessary” to speak up while 26% said they were “too embarrassed” and 28% “feared it may make them look incapable of doing their job properly”.

53% of women also said they wouldn’t feel comfortable asking their employer to make the necessary adjustments needed to help them better manage their symptoms at work.

Unfortunately, this isn't completely surprising to us at Fertifa. While the government have been calling on over 50s to come back to work to help boost the economy, we have to ask ourselves what caused women in their 50s to leave in the first place. Recent studies have shown that 1 in 10 women who worked during the menopause have left a job due to their symptoms. 8 out of 10 women said their employer hasn’t shared information, trained staff, or put in place a menopause absence policy.

Proposals to change UK legislation to protect the rights of women experiencing menopause have partially been rejected by the government, due to fears such a move would discriminate against men. Women are leaving their jobs, often at the peak of their careers, because they simply don't feel supported through this life change. And these numbers are just too large to ignore.

Menopause can lead to low job satisfaction and high turnover

Our survey revealed a number of ways in which the perimenopause or menopause has negatively impacted women over 40 at work, which in turn has a clear impact on employers.

50% of people we spoke to said they'd experienced decreased job satisfaction, as a direct result of perimenopause or menopause. 42% say that it has led them to consider leaving their job. With 30% of menopausal women taking up to 16 days of sick leave each year, this carries a very real cost to businesses.

Only 16% of women said that they were aware that their employer has a menopause policy

51% said that there's no menopause policy in place and 33% were unsure.

As Katie Taylor said, “this is a disappointing, but sadly not surprising result. Implementing or updating a policy is not an onerous task and the companies that we have worked with are seeing this as another important step in helping employees to feel more comfortable in approaching their employer for support".

At Fertifa, we're proud to be opening up conversations around menopause and normalising important discussions. If you're looking to provide your people with menopause support, get in touch here. We'd love to work together 💜