News and Events

Why women leave paid employment early

  • Posted

A recent report published by the British Standards Institution (BSI) explores the factors leading to women leaving the workforce prematurely, a phenomenon referred to as the "second glass ceiling." The report provides valuable insights and recommendations on how to support women in remaining in work for longer.

The report draws from a survey conducted among over 5,000 women across the UK, USA, Australia, China, and Japan. Its findings highlight the challenges women face and offer potential solutions for addressing them.

Specifically focusing on the UK respondents, the report reveals several significant findings:

  • Caring responsibilities for parents or children were cited as a barrier to continuing in work by 21% of women surveyed.
  • 20% mentioned health and wellbeing considerations related to the menopause.
  • A majority of women (54%) would find it difficult to discuss health and menopause-related issues with their employer, and 60% would feel uncomfortable raising these matters with a male manager.
  • The report highlights that 71% of respondents believe that formal policies addressing personal health and wellbeing issues, such as menopause, menstruation, difficult pregnancies, or miscarriage, would be beneficial. Surprisingly, only 4% of women were aware of such policies in their own organisations.

The report emphasises that women leaving the workforce prematurely can result in productivity losses, talent drain, and a lack of experienced mentors for new staff. To reframe the conversation around women in the workplace, the report underscores the benefits of supporting them to stay longer, ultimately boosting growth, innovation, and diversity.

Based on its findings, the report provides key recommendations to address these issues effectively:

  • Recognise the advantages of addressing the challenges women face in the workforce.
  • Encourage open dialogues to better understand women's needs and experiences.
  • Provide accessible support for health and wellbeing concerns, including menopause-related issues.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements that accommodate caring responsibilities and health considerations.
  • Foster a culture of care within organisations, ensuring that women feel supported and valued.
  • Share best practices amongst organisations to promote knowledge exchange and collaboration.

Get in touch

For advice and support managing health & well-being issues in the workplace, get in touch for a free chat.

Call us on 01622 759 900 or email us on