A new report published today, Menopause in the Workplace: Impact on Women in Financial Services, shows that 25% of women are more likely to leave the financial services workforce due to menopause experience. 

The Fawcett Society, working with Standard Chartered Bank and the Financial Services Skills Commission, conducted a large-scale survey of over 2,400 women and men working in the UK financial services sector at all levels, from over 100 organisations. The research sought to understand how the menopause impacts women working in the sector and how employers can better support their employees. 

The report uncovered three key findings: 

  • A culture of silence means the impact of the menopause is hidden. Only 22% of women and trans men currently experiencing the menopause disclose their status at work. Worries about social stigma are a bigger blocker to disclosure than preferences for privacy and there was strong support for action to reduce that stigma.
  • The sector is losing talent because of the menopause. Amid this culture of silence and the impact of symptoms, the menopause is holding back women from progressing and in some cases staying in work. For almost half of women and trans men who are currently experiencing the menopause, it has made them less likely to want to apply for a promotion. One quarter of employees currently experiencing the menopause said their experience has made them more likely to leave the workforce before retirement.
  • With the right support, women can stay and progress in financial services. Women in our research had a clear message: just as employers have with mental health, we need to break the stigma and taboo on the menopause. Most of the women we spoke to who reduced their seniority or left their roles believed that had they known more about the menopause and been given support, they would have stayed or progressed.

Andrew Bazeley, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the Fawcett Society:

“Women told us that the menopause is where mental health was five years ago – and that employers have a role to play in breaking down the stigma through integrating menopause into their diversity and inclusion efforts. With only a fifth of women even sharing their menopause status at work, senior leaders can send an important message that this is not a taboo subject simply by talking about it themselves.”

128,000 women, or 1 in 10 employees, working in the financial services sector are currently going through the menopause. For almost half of employees experiencing the menopause, it makes them less likely to want to progress in their role. For a quarter it is the reason they are more likely to retire early.

For too long, menopause has been a taboo, with the research finding that a lack of information and a culture of silence means that many women do not disclose their menopause status, and, as a result, employers are unable to fully support them in the workplace.

The report identifies key actions that organisations can take to better address the barriers faced and create workplace cultures where menopause is better understood. 

Read full report