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Why do women leave the workforce prematurely?

The British Standards Institution has conducted a survey of over 5,000 women across the UK, USA, Australia, China and Japan to determine why women prematurely leave the workforce.

Of the UK women surveyed, the report found:

  • Only 50% were confident that their generation would receive equal levels of flexibility and support to remain in the workforce as long as their male colleagues;
  • 21% considered that the main barrier to remaining in work was their caring responsibilities;
  • 20% believed that the main barrier to remaining in work was linked to the menopause, with 54% admitting it would be difficult to raise such issues with their employer; and
  • 71% believed that it would be helpful if employers were to address personal health and well-being issues in formal policies.

The report noted the negative impact that women prematurely leaving can have on an organisation, including productivity losses and wasted talent with 73% of the women surveyed agreeing that the presence of more experienced female colleagues would be beneficial to development.

To retain women in the workforce, employers could consider:

  • Implementing formal policies relating to menopause;
  • Encourage open dialogue to understand the needs of women within the organisation by asking what the business can do for them and acting upon suggestions;
  • Conduct training for managers and senior staff;  and
  • Offering flexible or hybrid working where appropriate.

Please feel free to contact the Employment Team on [email protected] for any assistance.