One in five (20%) women in tech or fintech who have experienced menopausal symptoms have left or wanted to quit their jobs because of their symptoms, according to new research from Intuit QuickBooks.
The survey, which surveyed 3,000 men and women working in fintech or for technology providers, also found that nearly a quarter (22%) of surveyed women with menopausal symptoms delayed or canceled plans to apply for a promotion.
Meanwhile, nearly two in five (38%) women surveyed who have experienced menopausal symptoms say they generally feel less confident in their abilities, while 41% of respondents said the top challenges for themselves or someone they work with are going through perimenopause/menopause in the workforce is symptoms that affect your ability to perform work tasks.
The symptoms these women say most contributed to their lack of confidence are hot flashes (39%), mood swings like depression, anxiety and stress (37%) and poor sleep quality (36%).
And among men and women, nearly three-quarters (76%) thought the menopause experience could affect plans to progress to senior roles – demonstrating that the negative effects of menopause in the workplace are being universally recognized.
Stigma in the workplace remains
But it’s not just their own concerns that hold women back from tech. Worryingly, more than two in five women surveyed (43%) said they would not disclose they are going through menopause to their employer – and despite generally being the most affected group, those surveyed aged 45 to 55 were more likely to experience menopause. do not disclose (48%).
This is because the stigma surrounding menopause in the workplace remains. Nearly half (44%) of respondents who did not tell their employer said they would not like to draw attention to the fact that they are struggling, and 40% said they did not believe they would receive any additional support.
In addition, more than a third (36%) said they would not like to make colleagues uncomfortable, while 28% said they fear their peers 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 strive to reduce stigma and put in place the necessary support.
Jolawn Victor, Vice President and UK Head of Intuit QuickBooks, commented:
“When people think of menopause, they often think of the visible side effects it causes. The impact it can have on trust is much less discussed – but it is certainly no less damaging, particularly in the workplace. Our survey shows that among men and women, about three-quarters thought the menopause experience could affect plans to progress to senior roles. Therefore, employers have a responsibility to provide the support and guidance needed to enable people to go through menopause without it having a negative impact on their career.
“Putting more focus on supporting women through menopause can also have many benefits for employers – they will likely find that retention rates and their talent pipeline will improve as barriers to progression and achievement are removed. Taking action in areas like this will also help 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 does not support people in their organization going through menopause.
There is a clear incentive for employers to take action, as 75% of women surveyed say they would be more likely to stay with their organization if they had support measures in place. The forms of support that 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 Intuit Women’s Network, commented:
“Finally, there is a growing public awareness that menopause should not be something that people are afraid or uncomfortable to talk about, and this is particularly true in the workplace. Actively providing and promoting targeted support will not only provide those affected with practical resources, it will 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 that aims to change the way people think about menopause and help employers provide the right support. QuickBooks also places a strong focus on training managers 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.