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Demand for more flexible career paths and an ageing population is making talent scarcer. And the need to recruit people at all life stages has increased. As a result, this is the first decade with four distinct generations in employment.1 Menopausal woman are the fastest growing demographic in the workplace.2

A multi-generational workforce captures a broad range of experience and perspectives and makes sure businesses reflect their markets and customers. This can provide an important commercial edge.

Needs and expectations

To fulfil the different needs and expectations of age-diverse teams, employers must adopt a more tailored approach to the health and wellbeing support they provide. Managing menopause in the workplace is a prime example.

Alaana Woods, a Director within Bupa Health Clinics, says: “That's why Bupa champions the Menopause Workplace Pledge, which has now been adopted by more than 600 leading employers including AstraZeneca, Royal Mail, the Co-op and TSB.”

Companies taking the Pledge commit to:

recognise that the menopause can be an issue in the workplace and women need support

talk openly, positively and respectfully about the menopause

actively support and inform employees affected by the menopause

Impact of symptoms

Most women will experience menopause symptoms, such as anxiety, fatigue, loss of concentration, and hot flushes. For some these will be severe enough to impact on daily life. Without support, many women quit their jobs, pass up promotions and reduce their hours. Almost a million women a year have left the labour market due to menopause symptoms.3

Employers and line managers can do a lot to reduce this loss of talent. They can create a workplace culture where women can be open about menopause, offer menopause awareness sessions and initiate conversations about support and treatment options.

Bupa's Women's Health Clinical Lead, Dr Samantha Wild, says:

"Exploring flexible working and helping women to access resources and treatment can make a real difference. As line managers are usually the first point of contact for these sorts of conversations, it's important that they have a clear understanding of the challenges women face around menopause.

"It's also important to avoid assumptions. While the average age for a woman to go through the menopause is 51, some will experience premature or early menopause. Some people may want to talk about the changes they are experiencing and appreciate a sympathetic listener. For others it can be a sensitive subject, so it's important that any conversations take place in a private area."

Samantha says: "Self-help strategies may improve symptoms. For example, a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and getting more exercise. Line managers need to be able to signpost these.

“Many women benefit from hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or talking therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). And our dedicated Menopause Helpline, which provides clinical advice from menopause trained nurses 365 days a year, is also a source of support."

Data reveals need for support

Bupa data confirms there is a real need for this. Three out of five women (61%) who book a menopause plan with us say they have struggled to access care with the NHS, or value the convenience and availability of our services. Two thirds (68%) had already sought help from a GP, 42% had consulted their doctor three or more times, and 11% had seen a consultant.4

As well as signposting this vital support, line managers should be able to initiate practical workplace changes to ease symptoms. Samantha says: "Something as simple as providing a desk fan, a quiet space for someone to take a short break, or easy access to toilets and washing facilities can make it easier for women to remain in the workplace.”

Talent dividend

Alaana says: "Within Bupa, we have seen first-hand how rolling out a menopause plan makes a real difference to attracting talent. It's about providing a clear commitment and defined benefits around health and menopause.”

At Bupa we provide a wealth of resources, including A Guide to Managing Menopause at Work (PDF, 1.0MB), which we developed with the CIPD. This gives practical advice on how to create an open culture, where women feel comfortable to ask for support, and companies have the flexibility to provide it.

Our Menopause Conversation Guide (PDF, 0.3MB) provides insights which can help line managers initiate important conversations and help retain talented team members.

Guides and resources

1 (PDF, 1.1MB)
2 (PDF, 0.2MB) and (PDF, 0.3MB)
3 (PDF, 1.0MB)
4 Bupa Internal research, based on data between December 2020 to August 2021

Bupa health insurance is provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3956433. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ

Bupa Health Trusts are administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ © Bupa 2022

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