You're Overlooking the Fastest Growing Demographic in the Workforce
By 2030, 25 percent of the female population will be menopausal, making this group the fastest growing demographic in the workforce.
And yet, many women still don’t feel like they can ask for help, talk about the real reason they need time off, or cope with the stresses the life transition brings, so they’re ditching their desks in droves.
Some 1 in 10 women are leaving the workforce because of the menopause every year, and McKinsey finds for every woman promoted to being a director, two are handing in their notice.
For most, the subject is still taboo, so it’s a quiet, but grievous epidemic.
Why should employers care about Menopause awareness?
With the current global talent shortage, you cannot afford to lose talented women at the pinnacle of their careers, who may have their most powerful and productive years ahead of them, due to a lack of support through their peri-menopause years.
As we’re all living longer (the estimated life expectancy for those born in 2020 is 92), we need experienced staff to continue to contribute to the success of organisations.
Aside from it being the right thing to do, there’s a clear business case for championing equity for menopausal women in the workplace:
• Women aged 45-55 are the fastest growing workforce demographic on the planet. ‘third quarter life’ workers (aged 50-75) will be the highest demographic by 2050.
• McKinsey finds that companies that are in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability.
• Research from DDI shows that companies with gender diverse teams enjoy: 1.7x stronger leadership, 1.4x sustained profitable growth, and 1.5x stronger growth culture.
• Women hold 52% of wealth in the US (Backstage Capital, 2020)
Progressive companies are aware of this reality, and are already trying to attract and retain their experienced, brilliant women.
Eventually, the move will make its way into employer branding. When the lightbulb goes on - and it will - companies and their agencies will realise they need to attract back experienced women leaders and influencers who can mentor, coach, multi-task, communicate better to remote teams and much more.
So, get ahead of the curve and start supporting this important demographic.
How you can offer support
Here are just some of the ways you can make accommodations at work for women experiencing menopause.
1. Create an environment where people can talk about menopause without embarrassment – normalising the life stage conversation
2. Make adjustments to workplace temperature control and ventilation, eg. personal fans provided at each work station, ability to open windows & office doors
3. Flexible working hours if required (flexibility is 16 times more important to midlife women than status)
4. Extra (and possibly adapted) uniforms to ensure comfort through/after sweats
5. Easy access to cold drinking water, washroom facilities and toilets
6. Access to a quiet place for work or to take short ‘composure’ breaks
7. Ability to sit down – not stand for long periods
8. Noise-cancelling headphones
9. Empathy from work colleagues, especially if sudden hormonal mood swings occur
One final thought...
Aside from supporting women through the temporary transitions, organisations need to shift the focus onto the powerful stage beyond menopause; on creating equality and equity in workplaces and increasing the woeful number of women in leadership.
If there is more empathy, understanding and awareness of possible symptoms – and accommodations for these – then an organisation’s talented, experienced women can be retained and equity in leadership can be achieved.