Menopause awareness at work and in recruitment

With such a lovely response to my last blog about my recent (successful!) career change, I couldn’t help but be inspired to share more in the hope of helping others out there.  This time about a topic that feels so specific to me but affects millions of women each year…..menopause.

At Ashby Jenkins Recruitment it’s so important to us to ensure our consultants are supporting candidates and clients (and our colleagues) experiencing perimenopause and menopause symptoms and I was delighted to lead a shared learning to raise awareness in our own team.

Menopause has been a taboo subject, especially at work but one that affects so many and is a key workplace issue, linked to the Equality and Health and Safety at Work Acts. Addressing menopause at work is not only about doing the right thing legally but also about creating inclusive and compassionate workplaces that value the well-being of every individual.

What is perimenopause and menopause?

Menopause is the specific moment when it has been 12 months since a women had their last period. This usually happens between 45-55 years old.

Perimenopause is the transitional stage around menopause, on average 5 years, where women experience physical and psychological symptoms.

Why does this conversation matter?

  1. Growing demographic: There are 7m women between the ages of 45-55 in the UK workforce and they make up the fastest-growing demographic of the workplace. Two-thirds of them have said menopause symptoms have negatively impacted their work.

  2. Ignoring can have serious implications: Although not all women experience effects which prevent them from working, research suggests those with serious menopausal symptoms take an average of 32 weeks of leave from work, whilst one in four women report they have considered leaving their job due to their menopause symptoms.

Key symptoms that could be affecting your staff, colleagues and candidates?

3 in 4 people will experience symptoms including:

  • Hot flushes
  • Brain fog / poor memory
  • Mood changes / anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • and more…

How you can support your staff and colleagues experiencing perimenopause and menopause

  1. Normalise conversations and reduce stigma: Be compassionate and supportive of your staff by letting them lead the conversation, tell you what they are experiencing and ask for any reasonable adjustments.

  2. Inclusive language in job descriptions: Use inclusive language that reflects the organisation’s commitment to diversity and understanding. Highlight policies and benefits that support employees including menopause.

  3. Training for teams: Provide training for teams to raise awareness about menopause and its potential impact on the team. Brain fog and the need to use the bathroom more are things that need to be taken into consideration but not many people are aware of this unless they are experiencing it.

  4. Flexible Work Arrangements: Clearly communicate the organisation’s stance on flexible work arrangements. This includes addressing policies related to remote work, flexible hours, and other accommodations that may be beneficial for individuals experiencing menopausal symptoms.

The workforce is a diverse tapestry of individuals, each navigating unique life experiences. Menopause, a significant life transition for many women, is an often overlooked aspect in the recruitment process. Recognising and addressing menopause awareness not only promotes inclusivity but also contributes to creating supportive workplaces that prioritise the well-being of every individual.

This blog is part of our ongoing commitment to ED&I in the workplace, you can also read my colleague Chloe’s recent blog on returning to work here and a range of our other blogs on our website.

We want to celebrate good practice and get people talking so if you have had excellent support from your employer do comment or get in touch with me – [email protected].