Currently women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing segment of the UK workforce and as 51 is the average age to go through the menopause (British Menopause Society) this equates to 1 in 8 women in work being of menopausal age, rising to an estimated 1 in 6 by 2022, 80% of whom will have symptoms.
Menopause can affect many things including mood, sleep, concentration and confidence. When these symptoms are misunderstood, they can be perceived as performance and attendance issues, leading to negative consequences such as women who are experiencing symptoms avoiding or being overlooked for promotion, being put on performance plans and even leaving their jobs.
Up to a third of women will experience severe menopausal symptoms that can impact on their quality of life. It is in the work context that women often report greater difficulty in managing symptoms and can feel embarrassed and unable to disclose their menopausal status, fearing they may be stigmatised for being menopausal.
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.
Here at the Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health, we are committed to breaking down the taboos and stigmas associated with this life transition and will support our colleagues during this time with their wellbeing and career choices.