Female doctors made about 28 per cent less than their male peers last year, a gender wage gap that persisted across different medical specialties and different parts of the country, according to a survey of U.S. physicians.
On average, male doctors made US$380,866, while women made $275,311. While women were more likely to practice medicine in lower-paying specialties like primary care, even in more lucrative fields like orthopedic surgery or plastic surgery they were also paid substantially less than men, said Christopher Whaley, an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health who wrote the report for Doximity Inc.
“This is still a persistent issue, and it’s pervasive,” Amit Phull, Doximity’s medical director, said of the physician salary gap.
The report adds more evidence to persistence of the wage gap at a time when the U.S. is having a global conversation about issues women face in the workforce such as harassment and gender discrimination, as well as an absence of women in some of the highest paid positions and fields.
The physician wage gap is wider than the gap for all workers -- the U.S. Census Bureau found that among full-time workers in any industry, women earned about 80 per cent of what men made in 2016.
“What is really sad is that it was not surprising to see the big pay gap,” said Fatima Stanford, an instructor at Harvard Medical School who has been an advocate for equal pay among doctors. ”I think in 10 years we’ll be having a similar conversation unless there’s some major change.”
Men also own 85 per cent of private practices, which tend to pay better than working at a hospital or university, according to the report. Even so, female owners or partners of private practices were still out-earned -- male partners and owners made US$420,629, on average, while women made US$306,039.
The report was based on self-submitted survey responses from more than 65,000 licensed U.S. doctors, and the data were adjusted to try and correct for what specialty doctors practiced in, where they were located, how many years they’d been working and how many hours they worked per week.
While men are getting paid more, women have surpassed them in one critical measure that may have a longer-term impact. Last year marked the first time that more women than men enrolled in U.S. medical schools in 2017, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.