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Nearly all UK employers failing to adequately support women at work

Paul Lewis, chief customer officer - Adzuna

UK employers are failing to prioritise supporting women in the workplace, with fewer than 3% offering benefits necessary to help them thrive, according to new research.* 

Adzuna analysed over 1m job ads advertised in March 2023, revealing the number of postings promoting perks aimed at women – and the dire need for employers to step up.

Overall, only 29,501 of the 1,043,451 job ads available cited perks aimed at retaining women in the workplace and supporting them to thrive. Only 17,638 ads promoted enhanced maternity or parental leave, and just 6,410 postings offered some kind of support with childcare costs (including on site daycare or backup childcare).

Despite recent evidence showing 1 in 10 women aged 45-55 leave the workforce due to symptoms of the menopause, only 821 job ads mention menopause support, and of those just 30 postings are offering paid HRT therapy. 

Shockingly, only 5 UK job ads offered menstrual leave. Research by YouGov has found nearly half of Brits are in favour of the introduction of menstrual leave legislation, and 40% of women said they regularly get period pain bad enough that it affects their ability to work. Some countries are waking up to the huge negative impact this has on women in the workplace: Spain has recently introduced legislation allowing three days per month of state-paid for menstrual leave for those with incapacitating periods. 

Fertility benefits such as egg freezing and IVF support are also rare, with just 51 job ads mentioning these types of perks. LinkedIn was one of the first companies to offer UK its staff these benefits, covering up to £21,000 towards IVF (around £5,000 per cycle) or adoption costs from 2019, and following in the steps of Facebook, Google and Apple in the US. But with hiring in large tech companies currently depressed, women seeking employers offering fertility benefits are facing limited options.

By comparison, popular perks including duvet days (619 job ads), unlimited holiday (953 ads) and free gym membership (3,912 ads) continue to be offered by many employers.

Paul Lewis, Chief Customer Officer at job search engine Adzuna, comments:Women remain woefully undersupported in the UK workplace. Instead of duvet days or free gym membership, employers need to focus on benefits that support female employees. In particular, evidence shows menopause and menstruation are top factors making it harder for women to thrive at work, even leading many to drop out of the workforce. Women shouldn’t need to suffer in silence; employers need to step up, introduce open dialogues around these topics and add more flexibility for women juggling their health with work. Furthermore, keeping women in the workplace is key to filling skill gaps, so introducing benefits that help attract, support and ultimately retain women makes sense from a business as well as a societal perspective.”

Table 1: Job ads supporting women in the workplace, March 2023

Benefit Total job ads promoting perk
Enhanced parental/ maternity leave 17,638
Childcare support (vouchers/ emergency childcare/ on-site nursery) 6,410
Adoption leave 3,891
Menopause support (including paid HRT treatment) 821
Surrogacy leave 349
Pregnancy loss leave 336
Fertility benefits (including IVF support or leave/ egg freezing) 51
Menstrual leave 5
TOTAL 29,501

Table 2: Employers offering workplace perks supporting women

Benefit Company
Menstrual leave Hertility
Paid HRT treatment Gi Group
Backup childcare JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank
Fertility Benefits Salesforce, Kindbody
Menopause friendly Mamas & Papas, Anchor Trust, Stonewater
Pregnancy Loss Leave Monzo

*Research from Adzuna

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