The menopause is a major factor, currently flying largely under the radar, responsible for women leaving the workforce early in their droves, according to mutual insurer, Royal London.
In anticipation of International Women’s Day on 8 March, Clare Moffat, pensions expert at Royal London, comments on a life event that remains largely unregistered when discussing women’s careers and later life savings:
“Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that economic inactivity, when working-age adults are neither in work nor looking, has risen sharply. Tellingly, in the three-year period to 2022, health related economic inactivity saw a 42% rise. While a wide range of health conditions will be included in this, including Covid, menopausal symptoms is undoubtedly a significant one.
“A shrinking workforce causes increasing concern for the government and employers and is stoking fears about stunting economic growth. It’s an issue that the Chancellor will no doubt be keen to address and we will likely hear more on this in the upcoming Budget. However, there remains a lack of support for women in the workplace resulting in an increasing number having to leave the world of work.
“Menopausal symptoms can prevent women from working and saving as much as they would like, with almost a million women leaving their job as a consequence, while many others are forced to reduce their hours. This means women may miss out on important pension savings at a key stage in their life, resulting in them being up to £126,000 worse off, potentially widening an already significant gender pensions gap.
“Ultimately helping to solve the issue, through improving how women experiencing the menopause are accommodated in the workplace, would help them to fulfil their potential and ensure the economy reaps the benefits too.”