Two-fifths (39%) of employers say their male employees wait until a health concern becomes severe before they talk to their line manager or HR, which can be disruptive for their teams.
This is according to digital health platform Peppy, which said organisations should consider how they are delivering confidential health support for men, with a focus on early intervention.
Thirty-seven per cent of the 504 HR decision makers surveyed said that an unwillingness to seek help was one of the main issues they encountered when trying to help manage men’s health concerns.
Having a “macho culture”, where being ill or needing help is seen as a weakness, was also identified as a barrier by 36% of organisations, while 26% identified presenteeism – working while unwell – as an issue among their male employees.
Asked what else they believed affected men’s health support, 30% said there was a lack of support for male-specific issues; 26% said there was a lack of places where men could access confidential support; 25% said there was a lack of role models who could demonstrate that it was okay to be ill; and 23% said men felt they were unable to access medical support because of long working hours.
Men also feared the impact that highlighting a health concern to their employer would have on their careers – a quarter said men were concerned about being overlooked for promotions or pay rises if they were known to have a health problem.
Peppy CEO Dr Mridula Pore said: “In general, men are simply not engaged with the healthcare system. It’s not uncommon for male employees to make claims about ‘never having had a day off work’ or ‘not having visited a GP since they were young’ but this could mean serious conditions are missed.
“We need to encourage men to get support as soon as they have any concerns or show symptoms. These early interventions can prevent an illness becoming more severe and ultimately mean less disruption to the employer.
“Employers must offer the right type of support, and it needs to be both convenient and give assurance. A tech-based solution ticks many of the right boxes but it will not be effective unless it is communicated regularly to increase engagement.”
Forty-five per cent of employers said they currently offered support specifically for men’s health, while a further 20% planned to offer it within the next 12 months.