Over half (55%) of employers have seen demand for menopause support increase in the past two years, according to new research undertaken during September 2022 amongst 504 HR decision-makers by digital health app, Peppy. The same is true over a five-year period, with nearly two-thirds (63%) of employers seeing this increased appetite for employer-sponsored menopause support.
Kathy Abernethy, Director of Menopause Services, Peppy said: “Organisations are witnessing an increased demand for menopause support from their staff and we don’t see this trend slowing anytime soon. We have conversations with employers who might not have considered budgeting for menopause support in the past, or thought their more general employee benefits provision was adequate; however, they now realise that they must prioritise this type of specialist support.”
Employers expect to improve recruitment and retention by offering menopause support
Of those employers who do offer menopause support, nine out of ten (89%) expect the organisation to be more attractive to staff of menopause age looking for jobs, and a similar amount (88%) expect to be better able to retain staff of menopausal age.
Peppy’s experience of working with employers across a number of different sectors, bears this out: while there are very striking health benefits for individual employees who engage with menopause support, the organisation as a whole can also anticipate a direct benefit too, attracting and retaining this important, experienced demographic.
Earlier in the year, the FTSE Women Leaders Review, which was spearheaded by Liz Truss, then Minister for Women and Equalities, now Prime Minister, made recommendations for new targets to help ensure women are fairly represented in corporate leadership and on boards. Peppy believes that organisations of all sizes will take this approach on board, and the recruitment and retention of senior women will be a laser focus for employers.
Employers believe they’re behind the curve on menopause support
Despite the pressure from employees wanting menopause support, and employers’ understanding of the positive impact that this can have on recruitment and retention, Peppy’s research shows that over a third (36%) of employers feel that they are behind the curve, or it’s not even on their radar, when it comes to offering menopause support.
This breaks down as:
- 17% of HR leaders thought that their organisation was a ‘little’ bit behind others in terms of the support they offer.
- 6% believe that they are ‘way behind’ others
- 13% said that menopause support was not on their radar or something they are particularly interested in offering at present
Kathy Abernethy said: “Many early adopters offered menopause support because they wanted to do the right thing, and recognised the impact of not doing so, and others are now quickly following suit as they can’t afford to be an outlier in their industry. Either way – employees will benefit from a greater number of organisations offering them support. Those who don’t get up to speed with offering support are likely to suffer as a consequence.”
Businesses affected with sickness and absence from menopause-related issues
Peppy’s research highlights the fact that businesses themselves are directly affected when menopause is not supported.
Worryingly, 38% of employers say that staff have left their organisation due to menopause symptoms.
In addition, 64% of HRs say that their organisation had experienced staff taking time off sick because of menopause-related symptoms. Of these, a third (32%) say they have experienced employees in their organisation take sick leave because of menopause symptoms ‘quite a few times’ and half (50%) responded this had occurred a ‘couple of times’.
Kathy Abernethy said: “Businesses are directly affected when staff take absence or leave the business altogether because of menopause-related issues. Individuals benefit when they’re supported, and it’s also in the interest of the company to look after this important demographic, to reduce absence and keep people at work.”
Types of menopause support offered by employers, and biggest areas for growth
Of the types of support offered to menopausal employees, mental well-being support targeted at midlife women is the most common (37%), according to Peppy’s research.
This is followed by:
- Healthy lifestyle support for midlife women (i.e. fitness, nutrition) (35%)
- Information / enhanced information on company or employee benefits portal (31%)
- More general employee benefits that include some menopause support (31%)
- Training for line managers / board on menopause issues (31%)
And the areas of menopause support set for the biggest growth in the next twelve months according to HRs are:
- Information / enhanced information on company or employee benefits portal (26%)
- Training for line managers / board on menopause issues (25%)
- In-person menopause support groups (i.e. menopause cafes) (23%)
- More general employee benefits that include some menopause support (22%)
- Training and information targeted at male colleagues about menopause issues (21%) / Mental wellbeing support targeted at midlife women (21%)
Employees will benefit from a wide range of menopause support so it’s good to see employers offering such a variety. However, there is such a vast array of general menopause support now available, employers need to ensure what they offer makes a real difference and gives employees the dedicated support they need from experts to really get on top of some debilitating symptoms. Simply offering information, or general support isn’t enough; it needs to be personalised, targeted and offered by specialists.
Kathy Abernethy commented: “There are clear benefits of providing menopause support for employers and their employees, as well as very real ramifications of not doing so. Menopause support is not a trending employee benefit or a fad that will disappear next year. There are over 15m women in employment and nearly a third of those are over 50, so employers need to recognise their needs. Menopause needs to be treated in the same way as any other specialist support needed within the workplace – especially if employers are serious about recruiting, retaining and promoting this demographic.”