The Hidden Costs of Menopause: How Employers Can Support Women in the Workplace
Menopause can bring about various physical and emotional changes in a women’s life. Unfortunately, the impact of menopause on women’s careers is often overlooked, leading to a significant social and economic cost. In the UK, many women leave the workplace due to menopause-related symptoms, resulting in the loss of experienced employees and substantial financial burden for employers. This blog aims to shed light on the social and economic costs of women leaving the workforce because of menopause and highlight the importance of supporting women during this transition. Read on to find out how employers can support women in the workplace.
The Social and Economic Cost of Women Leaving the Workforce
- Loss of Experienced Employees: Women who have reached managerial or senior positions in their careers may opt to leave the workforce due to the overwhelming impact of menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, and fatigue. This loss of experienced and knowledgeable employees can severely affect productivity, continuity, and the overall work environment.
- Retraining Expenses: When experienced employees leave, employers are faced with the cost of recruiting and training new staff to fill those positions. Retraining employees to match the expertise and knowledge of their predecessors can be time-consuming and costly.
- Reduced Workplace Diversity: Menopause-related attrition can impact the diversity within a company, leading to potential challenges in fostering an inclusive and dynamic workforce.
Employer Support during Menopause
- Flexible Work Arrangements: Employers can offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or adjusted working hours, to accommodate women experiencing menopause symptoms. This flexibility can alleviate some of the challenges women face during this phase.
- Menopause-Friendly Policies: Implementing menopause-friendly policies that recognize and support women’s needs during menopause can create a more compassionate and understanding work environment. These policies might include additional breaks, access to private spaces, and adjustments to uniforms or dress codes.
- Menopause Awareness Training: Providing workplace training on menopause can raise awareness among employees and supervisors, promoting empathy and understanding. Evidenced-based training programs like “Menopause in the Workplace” by organizations like Menopause Support UK can offer valuable insights and solutions.
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): EAPs that address menopause-related challenges, including access to counselling and support groups, can be beneficial for women navigating this phase in their lives.
The Cost of Implementing Supportive Menopause Policies vs. Recruiting and Training New Staff
Research conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimates that the cost of losing experienced employees due to menopause is substantial, with the UK’s economy losing billions annually. On the other hand, implementing menopause support policies and providing training can be a cost-effective strategy. A study by Business in the Community found that for every £1 invested in menopause training, there was an average return of £5 in productivity, reduced absenteeism, and talent retention.
The social and economic costs of women leaving the workforce due to menopause are significant and cannot be ignored. Employers play a crucial role in supporting women during this stage in their lives. By providing flexible work arrangements, implementing menopause-friendly policies, and offering menopause awareness training, employers can retain experienced staff and create a more inclusive and supportive work environment. The cost of investing in menopause workplace policies and support is far outweighed by the expense of recruiting and training new staff, making it a sensible and compassionate approach for businesses across the UK.
- Business in the Community. (2021). Menopause: Creating a Menopause-Friendly Workplace. Retrieved from https://www.bitc.org.uk/media-centre/resources/menopause-creating-a-menopause-friendly-workplace/
- Centre for Economics and Business Research. (2018). The Economic Cost of Menopause-Related Absenteeism and Presenteeism in the UK. Retrieved from https://www.cebr.com/reports/the-economic-cost-of-menopause-related-absenteeism-and-presenteeism-in-the-uk/
- Menopause Support. (n.d.). Menopause in the Workplace. Retrieved from https://menopausesupport.co.uk/menopause-at-work/menopause-in-the-workplace/