Gender wage gap varies by specialty


There is no specialty in which women physicians make as much as men, but hematology came the closest in 2018, according to a new survey by the medical social network Doximity.

Wage gap by specialty: Women fell short of men in 2018

Female hematologists averaged $309,000 in earnings in 2018, just 4% less than their male counterparts, who brought in an average of $323,000. Rheumatology had the next-smallest gap, 8%, between women and men, followed by radiation oncology at 9% and thoracic surgery and plastic surgery at 11% each, Doximity reported March 26. All of the 90,000 physicians involved in the survey worked at least 40 hours per week.

At the other end of the scale is pediatric pulmonology, home of the largest gender wage gap. Average compensation for women in the specialty was $195,000, or 23% less than the $253,000 that men received. Women in otolaryngology and urology were next, earning 22% less than men in those specialties, while women in radiology and pediatrics averaged 21% and 20% less, respectively, than men, Doximity said in its report.

The gender wage gap has been persistent, but the latest data show that it is starting to close as the earnings curve for male physicians flattened in 2018 while pay increased for female physicians.

“Compensation transparency is a powerful force. As more data becomes available to us, exposing the pay gap between men and women, we see more movements to rectify this issue,” said Christopher Whaley, PhD, of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, who was lead author of the study.

To account for differences in specialty, geography, and physician-specific factors, the Doximity researchers used “a multivariate regression with fixed effects for provider specialty and [metropolitan statistical area].” They also controlled for how long each physician has been in practice and their self-reported average hours worked.

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