The fastest growing demographic in the workforce is women aged 50 plus, are you tapping into this resource?

Shhhhhhhh don’t mention the M word! Until very recently, menopause was a taboo subject and women in the 50s were leaving industry in their droves, due to undiagnosed menopausal symptoms and lack of understanding in the workplace.

In March this year, the Government employed its first Menopause Employment Champion, Helen Tomlinson, who took up the role to help support employers in developing better menopause policies.

There are as many as half a million women at the peak of their careers who are leaving their jobs, due to menopause and with the talent crisis impacting UK employers, most companies are trying to get their heads around how to better support these women.

There are a range of symptoms that affect women but each woman’s experience of menopause is different. Menopause is medically defined as not having had a period for more than 12 months, but if you ask most women, they will tell you that peri-menopausal symptoms can be as difficult to manage as the menopause itself and have an enormous impact on their ability to concentrate and meet their employer’s expectations.

Some of the menopause symptoms that can seriously affect a woman’s career include; hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia and sleep problems, itchy and dry skin, and thinning hair, and it can also affect confidence and self-image.  Women tend to be judged much harder than men in the same role and often women in positions of power will be highlighted for what they are wearing and how their hair looks, rather than what they have achieved, something that would rarely happen to a man.

Women can also experience increased anxiety, stress levels and depression and are often misdiagnosed during perimenopause and menopause when treatment can be as simple as getting the right level of hormones back into their body, this usually gets them back to full health and fully functional at work.

During the pandemic, there were significant reductions in the supply of HRT, creating issues for women trying to cope with menopausal symptoms at work and at home, that seems to have settled post Covid and women are getting much better at pushing for a diagnosis, often now being encouraged by employers.