Survey shows impact of menopause at work

Some 59% of women who are going through the menopause says it has a negative impact on their work, according to a new survey, but small adjustments can make all the difference.

Women Working


Three out of five working women between the ages of 45 and 55 who are experiencing menopause symptoms say it has a negative impact on them at work, according to new research from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development [CIPD].

In response, the CIPD has launched free guidance on managing the menopause at work to help break the silence surrounding the topic. It emphasises that open discussion and even small changes like having a fan or access to flexible working can make a big difference to how women manage their symptoms and thrive in their jobs.

The CIPD says women over the age of 50 are the fastest growing group in the workforce and the average age for the menopause transition is 51.

Menopause transition

The menopause transition can include a range of symptoms which, on average, last for four years. The CIPD’s research surveyed 1,409 women experiencing menopause symptoms and was led by YouGov. Of those who were affected negatively at work, they reported the following issues:

  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) said they were less able to concentrate
  • More than half (58%) said they experience more stress
  • More than half (52%) said they felt less patient with clients and colleagues.
  • Nearly a third of women surveyed (30%) said they had taken sick leave because of their symptoms, but only a quarter of them felt able to tell their manager the real reason for their absence.

Privacy (45%) was the number one consideration for women choosing not to disclose. A third (34%) said embarrassment prevented them from saying why they had to take time off and another 32% said an unsupportive manager was the reason.

The need for better support is further highlighted by the fact that more women say they feel supported by their colleagues (48%) when going through the menopause than by their managers (32%).

The CIPD recommends that employers educate and train line managers so they are knowledgeable and confident to have sensitive conversations with staff about their symptoms and any adjustments that might be needed.

The most common symptoms reported by women in the CIPD’s survey are hot flushes (72%), sleep disturbances (64%) and night sweats (58%). Psychological issues (56%), such as mood swings, anxiety and memory loss, were also widely reported.

To support women experiencing these symptoms, the CIPD’s guide suggests:

  • Giving women a later start time if their sleep pattern is disturbed.
  • Providing a desk fan to help with hot flushes
  • Making sure women can take regular comfort breaks and allowing them to adapt their uniform to improve comfort levels.

Understanding the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population is vital if we want to create productive, innovative and inclusive multi-generational teams as we all lead longer working lives. is a job and community site, from the people behind, specially focused on older workers looking for flexibility and improved work-life balance, and the employers who recognise what they have to offer.

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