Almost a quarter (22%) of people working in financial services reported there are no measures in their workplace to support women in leadership positions through menopause.
A survey by the Chartered Institute for Securities Investment (CISI) of 332 respondents across the UK, Europe, Asia and Africa revealed an overall lack of support in place to help women with menopause.
More specifically, 44% said that this was an issue, while 46% believe the lack of targeted support was not a problem for them, with the remaining 10% reporting a neutral stance on the matter.
In terms of actual measures in place for women in leadership roles, 15% had flexible working schedules, 11% had a policy, 10% had internal training for staff or management, and 8% had paid leave of absence.
Just 6% of firms had a menopause private medical benefit, with just 1% having access to support via an app.
One respondent felt the lack of support and measures was rooted in discrimination: “This is just another way to justify discrimination against women. Sure, some will need additional support, but we don’t need to be patronised and written off just because we are in our 40s/50s.”
Another believed that the stigma around menopause was an influencing factor in financial services’ lack of engagement with the issue: “Although we haven’t lost any staff due to lack of support, I think it’s more to do with those of us affected by the issue have been here sometime and not really expecting support. This is still an issue for women themselves as we’re only just coming out of the taboo stage and realising there is help out there.”
Another of the professionals polled added: “Since I have just been through peri menopause and then menopause, I can safely say it’s one of the hardest and least addressed phases of a woman’s life. They have been suffering silently and seems like I just did the same.”
Some respondents believe the push must come from the top, as a lack of leadership is also responsible for measures and support being unavailable to women going through menopause, especially since the industry is still male-dominated and too often “profit-driven”.
Tracy Vegro, CISI chief executive, said: “This is our first ever sector survey looking at this fundamental aspect of women’s health. Financial services firms are at differing stages of their policy formation on this issue.
“Lack of knowledge, need for greater awareness and ways to tackle the perceived stigma around menopause are all key challenges. At CISI we have put in place a programme of CPD learning, including digital and in person events, which is being developed further for our global membership.”
Claire Tunley, chief executive of the Financial Services Skills Commission, said: “The financial services sector is facing a huge skills shortage. Firms are working hard to break the menopause taboo and support colleagues through their menopause transition but there is more work to do.
“Generating greater awareness, understanding, and building a more inclusive working culture, will empower individuals and help retain valuable, expertise and talent. This will ensure the industry continues to build skills, drive innovation, and boost overall competitiveness.”