Menopause Symptoms and Lack of Support Puts Women in Tech’s Careers on Hold

Menopause Symptoms and Lack of Support Puts Women in Tech’s Careers on Hold

One in five (20%) women in tech or fintech who have experienced menopausal symptoms have left or wanted to leave their job because of their symptoms, according to new research from Intuit QuickBooks.

The research, which surveyed 3,000 men and women working in fintech or for tech providers, also found that almost a quarter (22%) of surveyed women experiencing menopausal symptoms have delayed or cancelled plans to apply for a promotion.

Meanwhile, almost two in five (38%) surveyed women who have experienced menopausal symptoms say they generally felt less confident in their abilities, while 41% of respondents said the main challenges for themselves or someone they work with who is going through the perimenopause/menopause in the workforce is the symptoms affecting their ability to perform work tasks.

The symptoms that these women say contributed most to their lack of confidence are hot flushes (39%), mood changes such as depression, anxiety and stress (37%) and poor sleep quality (36%).

And across both men and women, about three quarters (76%) thought the experience of menopause could affect plans to progress into senior roles – demonstrating the negative effects of the menopause in the workplace are being universally recognised.

Stigma in The Workplace Remains

But it’s not just their own concerns holding women in tech back. Worryingly, over two in five women surveyed (43%) said they wouldn’t disclose that they’re going through the menopause to their employer – and despite generally being the most affected group, those surveyed aged 45-55 were most likely not to disclose it (48%).

This is because stigma around menopause in the workplace remains. Nearly half (44%) of those surveyed who wouldn’t tell their employer said they wouldn’t want to draw attention to the fact they were struggling, and 40% said they didn’t believe they would get any additional support.

In addition, more than a third (36%) said they wouldn’t want to make colleagues feel uncomfortable, while 28% said they feared their colleagues will believe they are less capable, leading 23% to think they might be overlooked for promotion.

All of these findings point to an urgent need for employers to step up to reduce stigma and put the necessary support in place.

Jolawn Victor, VP and Head of UK at Intuit QuickBooks, commented:

“When people think of the menopause, they often think about the visible side effects it causes. The impact it can have on confidence is much less discussed – but is certainly no less damaging, particularly in the workplace. Our research shows that across both men and women, about three quarters thought the experience of menopause could affect plans to progress into senior roles. Therefore, employers have a responsibility to offer the support and guidance needed to enable people to go through the menopause without it having a detrimental impact on their career.

“Putting more of a focus on supporting women through menopause can have many benefits for employers too – they are likely to find that retention rates and their pipeline of talent will improve, as barriers to progression and fulfilment are removed. Taking steps in areas like this will also help to close the gender pay gap in tech and fintech.”

Lack of Support Forces Women to Hide Experiences

Worryingly, more than a third (34%) of respondents said their employer provides no support for people in their organisation going through the menopause.

There is a clear incentive for employers to take action, as 75% of women surveyed say they would be more likely to stay at their organisation if they had supportive measures in place. The forms of support both men and women surveyed believe workplaces would benefit from are awareness training for managers (42%) and wellness resources (40%).

Caroline Rheubottom, Global Co-chair of the Intuit Women’s Network, commented:

“There is finally growing public awareness that the menopause should not be something people are afraid or uncomfortable to talk about, and this is particularly true in the workplace. Actively providing and promoting specific support will not only give those affected practical resources, but also help them to speak up and address some of their concerns.”

Intuit QuickBooks is committed to becoming a menopause friendly employer, and is in the process of joining the Menopause Friendly Accreditation, an independent body aiming to change the way people think about menopause and help employers put the right support in place. QuickBooks also places a strong focus on manager training on the impacts of menopause, and has a number of digital resources accessible to employees.

Intuit also runs the Silver Network, an employee resource group created to support older employees and their allies.

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