Menopause study to look at effect on women in finance

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A study will look at how the menopause affects the careers of women in the financial services sector, particularly their progression to senior roles, and what organisations can do to support them.

The research, which will be carried out by gender equality campaign group the Fawcett Society, has been commissioned by Standard Chartered Bank and the Financial Services Skills Commission, who want to find out about the challenges faced by women experiencing the menopause and how it affects the talent pipeline in financial services.

Women aged 50 and over represent around 13% of the UK workforce, according to the Office for National Statistics. Standard Chartered estimates that more than 130,000 women in financial services could be dealing with the menopause at any one time.

“We know there is a gender imbalance in senior roles in the industry and addressing this means looking at the pipeline of talent to senior roles and barriers to women progressing. These barriers can be organisational, societal or personal. Our endeavour is to provide support to our colleagues to overcome these barriers,” said Tanuj Kapilashrami, group head of HR at Standard Chartered.

“Menopause is a significant topic that currently isn’t considered a workplace issue. However, it’s an area of wellbeing that needs attention. This research will delve deeper into this issue, to help fully understand the impact on the talent pipeline and most importantly take decisions, as an industry, to deal with this challenge.”

The study will involve a survey that is open to all employees in the financial services sector, regardless of gender, as well as focus groups with those experiencing the menopause.

The questions the study aims to answer include:

  • To what extent is the menopause transition a problem for women in the talent pipeline within financial services (and women who have left the workforce)? What is the nature and scale of the problem in the UK financial services sector?
  • How do the symptoms of menopause transition, attitudes of workers experiencing the menopause transition, and the attitudes of employers, impact on women’s economic participation (relative to men of the same age)?
  • How can women experiencing the menopause transition be better supported? What best practice from organisations exists? Is there a recommended framework financial services should adopt to remove barriers and enable progression?
  • Can the economic costs of the menopause on women’s economic participation be quantified?
  • What is the mental health and wellbeing impact for individuals impacted by the menopause?

The results are expected to be published in the autumn.

Claire Tunley, chief executive at the Financial Services Skills Commission, said: “For too long the menopause has been a taboo subject with many women suffering in silence. The research announced today will start to break this trend and shine a light on the challenges women experiencing menopause face in the workplace, so the industry is better prepared to support and retain skilled employees and further strengthen the talent pipeline for the long term.”

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