It’s no secret that not offering menopause support carries a high price tag for businesses. But our latest research shows that the potential costs of menopause to the UK economy could be even greater than we’d originally thought.
The UK Parliament’s ‘Menopause and the workplace’ report cites 14 million working days lost each year to menopause, which equates to £1.88 billion in lost productivity.
Peppy’s recent research suggests that even this sizeable figure could be falling short of the real cost of menopause to businesses.
To set the scene, let’s remind ourselves of some menopause facts:
- Literal translation: “around menopause”.
- This is the time when a person’s body is making the transition to menopause, often accompanied by physical and emotional symptoms.
- Usually begins in a woman’s 40s and lasts a number of years.
- Literal translation: “end of monthly cycles”.
- This is the point of time 12 consecutive months after a person’s last period.
- The average age of menopause is 51.
- The time after menopause, when a person hasn’t experienced a period in over a year.
- Some people continue to experience symptoms of menopause after this time.
Symptoms of menopause include…
- Hot flushes
- Brain fog
- Sleep problems and insomnia
- Heart palpitations
- Low energy
- Low mood
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Joint aches
- Vaginal dryness
- Low libido
- To name just a few
The cost of £1.88 billion per year to the UK economy is based on women aged between 50-64, on the basis that they spend on average 0.51 hours a week alleviating symptoms.
Crucially though, a study of over 21,000 users on the Peppy app has shown that symptoms of support-seeking individuals between ages 40-49 are almost equally as severe and debilitating as symptoms of women aged 50+, and have just as detrimental an impact on productivity and taking time off sick.
If we assume the cost of menopause in the workplace for women aged 50-64 to be £1.88 billion and extend this out to include women age 40-64, adjusting the cost in line with the average symptom severity of support-seeking women by age group, we can estimate an additional £1.02 billion in lost productivity and time off sick due to menopause symptoms.
This takes the total potential business cost of menopause and perimenopause to £2.9 billion per annum – the equivalent to 22 million working days lost, every year.
It begs the question: from government to employers, are we thinking about menopause a decade too late?
Our research has also revealed that 70% of support-seeking employees say their performance at work has been negatively impacted by menopause symptoms. And, that regardless of age or stage of menopause, the more severe menopause symptoms are, the more impaired individuals feel their work is.
In summary, perimenopause symptoms experienced by support-seeking women aged 40-49 can be just as severe and debilitating as those experienced by women aged 50+.
The good news for cost- and health-conscious businesses is that there is a solution: specialised menopause support has been shown to improve symptom severity dramatically in just 6 months. Plus, the more supported help-seeking employees feel, the less they think about reducing their working hours or quitting their jobs.
Now is the time to support every employee who will face, has faced or is in the full throws of experiencing menopause. Offering inclusive, specialised support is a small price to pay to solve a potentially big problem.
Original research by Health & Her Ltd., detailed by the UK Parliament ‘Menopause and the workplace’ report [MEW0054]; the submission explained that Censuswide on behalf of Health & Her surveyed 1000 women aged between 50 – 64 and calculated this on the basis of 0.51 hours in a week spent alleviating symptoms* 48 weeks in the year = 24.48 hours spent alleviating symptoms. 24.48 hours * 4,357,000 working women aged 50–64 in the UK (ONS) = 106,659,360 hours / 7.5 hours (working day) = 14,221,248 working days.
Workings by Peppy:
above 50 = 58.81%
below 49 = 41.19%
39 and below = 2.81%
40-49 = 38.38%. (
50-65 = 58.56%
>66 = 0.25%
MRS by age group
group: < 39
n mean sd
606 13.22 10.19
n mean sd
54 18.93 7.62
n mean sd
8266 16.8 7.58
n mean sd
12612 18.77 7.08I