Almost four in 10 women consider quitting jobs over menopause symptoms

Some 84 per cent of Irish women respondents admit that it has affected their performance and ability in the workplace.
Almost four in 10 women consider quitting jobs over menopause symptoms

By Cate McCurry, PA

Almost four in ten women have considered quitting their jobs because of “devastating” menopause symptoms, a new national survey has revealed.

Some 84 per cent of Irish women respondents admit that it has affected their performance and ability in the workplace.

The data has prompted a menopause expert to warn that Irish firms face “an exodus” of female employees – as it also shows a majority of women are not getting the help they need to keep them in employment.

Just over 36 per cent of respondents in the poll said they have been forced to call in sick due to their symptoms, with 81 per cent who took part in the Menopause in the Workplace Survey 2022 not feeling comfortable discussing the issue with their managers.

Chief executive of menopause treatment provider, The Menopause Hub, Loretta Dignam (Conor McCabe/PA)

The survey of 1,087 Irish women was carried out over the last five weeks by leading treatment provider The Menopause Hub, the first clinic in Ireland solely devoted to helping women through the menopause.

Its chief executive, Loretta Dignam, insists the results show employers need to do more to keep the growing number of female workers going through the menopause in employment.

Speaking in advance of World Menopause Day on Tuesday, she said: “The solution to supporting menopausal women is through reasonable accommodations and adjustments, which need not cost the earth.

“We could soon see an exodus of female employees from the Irish workforce if employers continue to ignore the problem.

“Menopause for most women begins in the mid-40s with perimenopause and symptoms may last for 7-10 years. The average age of menopause, when periods stop, is 51.

“The last census in 2016 showed there were more than 570,000 women aged 45-64 in Ireland, the majority of whom are still working.

“This number is set to increase after preliminary results from Census 2022 showed there has been a 7.6 per cent increase in the population in the last six years.”

An overwhelming majority of women who took part in the survey (94.47 per cent), reported that more menopause training/awareness for managers and HR bosses is required.

 

Almost 70 per cent believe there is a stigma associated with the issue in the workplace.

Key findings show that a total of 38.4 per cent of women said they had considered quitting their jobs because of menopause, while 11 per cent said they were forced to, or were planning to, abandon careers after being overwhelmed by symptoms – which can include insomnia, anxiety, migraines, brain fog and fatigue.

More than four-fifths (84 per cent) admitted that menopause had affected their performance and their ability to do their job, with almost 30 per cent saying their performance had been “affected a lot”.

Ms Dignam said that under current health and safety legislation, a failure to support menopausal women in the workplace is “simply not acceptable any more”.

“Menopause can have devastating consequences and over 10 per cent of the women who took part in our survey said they quit their jobs because their symptoms made it impossible for them to remain in post.”

Ms Dignam, who provides training courses for several firms including ESB, Indeed, Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland, Dublin Bus and Kellogg, said all employers should have a menopause policy to encourage female employees to discuss the issue with managers.

She said she opened her clinic after feeling isolated by the lack of support she encountered when she first experienced symptoms.

Based in Mount Merrion, Dublin, the Menopause Hub has treated more than 6,000 women since opening in January 2019.

“But as our survey showed, three years on, the menopause remains a taboo subject in workplaces across Ireland,” she added.

Visit themenopausehub.ie for full survey results.

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