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Seven in 10 women have not spoken to their employer about their menopause symptoms - despite 42% of women considering leaving their job because of menopause.
That’s the result of The Latte Lounge’s survey of nearly 500 women who are experiencing perimenopause or menopause, in which we asked how the condition has impacted their working life.
We partnered with Fertifa, a specialist provider of employee reproductive health benefits, for the survey which was carried out during June 2021 and announced today (Tuesday 3 August).
A total of 60% of the women we surveyed were experienced mid-level professionals, and 25% were in senior management or leadership roles. Almost all (97%) of the women surveyed were aged 41 and above.
The Latte Lounge’s CEO and Founder Katie Taylor said today: “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.
“That’s why when we work with companies who are looking to better support their employees, we always say that breaking down the taboo, to get the conversation going, has to be the first step."
RELATED: Find out how The Latte Lounge can help your organisation with menopause awareness, training and support.
Here’s what else our survey revealed about menopause and the workplace:
We asked 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:
In terms of physical symptoms, the top response was sweating (75%) followed by weight-gain (73%).
Gidon Lieberman, Deputy Medical Director at Fertifa, said: “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”.
According to our survey, 70% did not speak with their employer about their symptoms.
Whie 53% of these felt it “wasn’t necessary” to speak up, 26% said they were “too embarrassed” and 28% “feared it may make them look incapable of doing their job properly”.
Disappointingly, 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.
The survey has uncovered 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.
Of our women, 50% cited decreased job satisfaction, as a direct result of perimenopause or menopause, while 42% say that it has led them to consider leaving their job.
Only 16% of women say that they were aware that their employer has a menopause policy. More than half (51%) say there is nothing in place, and 33% are unsure.
Katie Taylor says: “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.”
53% have not used Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to manage their symptoms, while 47% have turned to natural therapies.
Gidon Lieberman comments: “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.”
The Latte Lounge offers events, workplace training and resources to help you support your employees through menopause - helping you to retain talent, reduce sickness levels and boost happiness at work. Find out more here.
Find a menopause specialist, download our symptom checker, tips on preparing for your GP visit and so much more.
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