Menopause in the workplace

There are three stages of menopause: perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause.

Perimenopause means “around menopause” and refers to the time during which a female body naturally transitions to menopause, marking the end of reproductive years.

Menopause is when a female’s menstrual cycle ends due to lower hormone levels.  It is officially diagnosed after a female has gone 12 months without a period. 

Postmenopause is the time after menopause.  A female will no longer have menstrual cycles, but some women will continue to experience symptoms of menopause.

Stigma in the workplace?  Support is good for employers

Many women don’t seek medical advice during this stage of their life, and many don’t feel comfortable talking about the menopause with their work colleagues or line manager.  It is still viewed as a taboo.  If you reverse the situation, maybe colleagues and line mangers don’t feel comfortable talking about it either.  Why is this?  Maybe neither party know enough about the menopause or how they can help/be helped.  Every female’s experience is different.

Supporting an inclusive culture and creating an open environment to talk about menopause is good for both employers and employees.  Employees feel they have help, encouragement and support to help them in their day-to-day work, and it’s good for employers retention, motivation and loyalty.


The average age of a woman to go through menopause is 51.  It can be earlier, and symptoms may start years before menopause.  Symptoms can include anxiety, headaches, poor sleep, brain fog, hot flushes, or psychological such as lack of confidence and concentration, all hard for a female to deal with in the workplace especially if they already feel they have to prove themselves more around their male colleagues.

Nearly 8 out of 10 menopausal women are in work and retirement age is now 68 so it is a fast-growing demographic.  The UK is an ageing population, with fewer new entrants from education joining our industry, so firms need to look after their “older” workers to have the talent they need to run their business.

How can your organisation help?

Menopause is covered under the Equality Act 2010 which protects people from discrimination in the workplace.

Your organisation probably has more in place than you realise, and it might just be that a few tweaks are needed to raise awareness of menopause at work.  However, it is worth checking what policies your organisation does have and to create some if it doesn’t.

Simply creating an environment to talk openly about menopause without embarrassment is a good start.  It is a natural phase in every woman’s life and nothing to be ashamed of. 

Simply creating an environment to talk openly about menopause without embarrassment is a good start.  It is a natural phase in every woman’s life and nothing to be ashamed of. 

Organisations can provide adequate training on the menopause for line managers to help support your organisation’s policies and colleagues understanding in the workplace. 

Simple changes in the workplace will help to make someone going through menopause feel valued could be by providing them with a simple desk fan, offering flexible working hours, or just the opportunity to talk and for them not to feel alone.

“How menopause friendly is your organisation?” Henpicked provide a tick list to help get you started or simply to review what you already have in place.

What help is out there?

The Financial Services Skills Council is an independent, industry-led Commission who work with the UK Financial Services sector to ensure that it has the talent and skills it needs for the future, and they have done lots of work on menopause in the workplace which is on their website including a survey and we are proud to be a supporter.


Financial Services organisations are developing policies which actively encourage staff to openly talk about the menopause. Practical measures are now readily available to help create a more inclusive working environment, so individuals are less likely to exit the workforce or put their career development on hold due to their menopause experience. 

Headline figures from the FSSC survey show that:

  • 62% of financial services firms have implemented menopause support systems and employee networks internally in the last 12 months.
  • 51% of firms surveyed have senior leaders championing menopause awareness across their organisation
  • 84% of firms have reported they now offer part-time working arrangements for those experiencing the menopause.

So great work is being done in our industry, but there is always room for improvement which all organisations should strive to achieve.


Menopause in the work place

FSSC published ‘Menopause in the Workplace: Progress and Priorities’ summary report in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank