Standard Chartered and the Financial Services Skills Commission join forces to highlight the menopausal impacts on senior female leadership


London – Standard Chartered Bank has partnered with the Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC) to explore how the menopause transition affects women working in financial services and their progression to senior roles.

The research is being carried out by the Fawcett Society, UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights. It will provide critical insight into the challenges faced by women experiencing the menopause transition at work and how this impacts the talent pipeline across UK’s financial services industry. The findings will identify actions organisations can take to better address the barriers women are experiencing and will also provide practical advice on how employees can be better supported.

According to Government analysis on the effects of menopause on women’s economic participation, menopausal women are the fastest growing workforce demographic.

For many women the point at which they have the opportunity to attain a critical senior management role coincides with the menopause transition:

  • Usually occurring between ages 45 and 55, although it can be earlier or later than this.
  • Symptoms can last between four and eight years, according to the Faculty of Occupational Medicine.
  • The transition is not a uniform experience for all women – approximately 75% experience symptoms and a reported 25% experience serious symptoms.
  • The severity of menopausal symptoms and experience in the workplace can result in women leaving their jobs with one in four considering it according to the Wellbeing of Women survey in 2016.

Tanuj Kapilashrami, Group Head of Human Resources at Standard Chartered comments: “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.

“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.”

According to ONS data, approximately 13% of the UK workforce are women over 50. This could equate to more than 130,000 women in financial services dealing with the menopause transition at any one time. Greater education is needed within the industry and developing the capability of managers and colleagues in supporting those going through menopause will be key.

This is a topic that can lead to positive gains for organisations, the industry and economy if proactively addressed.

Claire Tunley, Chief Executive at the Financial Services Skills Commission says: “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.”

The research findings will be reported in the Autumn, with specific areas addressed to 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), and if so, 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 employees experiencing the menopause transition be better supported? What best practice from organisations (if any) exists?  Is there a recommended framework financial services should adopt to remove barriers and enable progression?
  • Can the economic costs of the menopause transition on women’s economic participation be quantified?
  • What is the mental health and wellbeing impact for individuals impacted by the menopause transition?

— ENDS —

Notes to Editors:

The Fawcett Society, with the guidance of Dr Vanessa Beck, University of Bristol, is conducting a survey of employees within the financial services sector and holding focus groups with those experiencing the menopause transition.

The research will investigate the experiences of women in senior leadership roles in financial services as well as individuals further down the talent pipeline who are less likely to be adequately resourced and supported to stay in the financial services workforce.

The survey is open to all employees within the financial services sector regardless of gender in order to understand general knowledge of the menopause and what support is needed.

For further information please contact:

Lauren Verner
Head of Communications, Europe
Standard Chartered Bank
Tel: +44 (0)207 885 7479

Standard Chartered

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