The Gender Pay Gap for Physicians Begins Immediately at the Start of Doctors’ Careers

A new study by scholars at DePaul University in Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University at Albany, finds that the gender gap in pay of physicians begins as soon as doctors enter the workforce. The researchers found that for graduating medical residents and fellows in New York State for the years 1999–2017, the average starting compensation was $235,044 for men and $198,426 for women. The study also found that there was a larger gap in more recent years than in earlier years.

The authors found that about 60 percent of the wage gap could be explained by differences in medical specialty, with men tending to concentrate in higher-paying fields. The research determined that women physicians were more concerned than their male counterparts on work-life balance issues such as predictable working hours, weekend duty, and length of the workday. But they found that this concern was not a factor in the gender pay gap.

“While it is apparent that women say they place a greater premium on control over work-life balance factors, this difference does not appear to explain the observed starting salary difference, conditional on other factors,” the authors conclude. “There may nevertheless exist workplace biases, whether intentional or unintentional, that differentially affect women irrespective of their individual stated preferences for work-life balance.”

The full study, “Differences In Starting Pay For Male And Female Physicians Persist; Explanations For The Gender Gap Remain Elusive,” was published on the website of the journal Health Affairs. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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