Women in medicine make about $116,000 less than men, and the pandemic could be making things worse

Women in medicine make about $116,000 less than men, and the pandemic could be making things worse
HRAUN/Getty Images
  • Medical networking site Doximity released its fourth annual Physician Compensation Report on Thursday.
  • In addition to compensation differences across US cities, the report highlights that women make less than men in all medical specialties.
  • According to the report, the wage gap is largest for otolaryngology — or the specialty related to ears, noses, and throats — where women make 77.9% of men or a gap of 22.1%.
  • Overall, the gender wage gap in 2020 for doctors is 28%, about three percentage points higher than last year's report.

The coronavirus recession has disproportionately hurt working women, and the pressures of balancing work with parenting and household responsibilities amid the pandemic have also affected female doctors.

Medical networking site Doximity just released its fourth annual Physician Compensation Report, and one of the main findings is that the gender wage gap for doctors has widened this year.

The report describes compensation for physicians in various US cities and in different medical specialties. The figures are based on self-reported compensation surveys from 2019 and 2020 that were completed by around 44,000 US physicians.
Advertisement
One notable finding is the various gender wage gaps among medical specialties. Last year's report showed a declining gap in pay between male and female physicians. However, this year the overall wage gap was 28%, 2.8 percentage points higher than last year's figure. Women in medicine made about $116,000 less than men, where women make an average salary of around $299,000 compared to the average salary among male doctors of about $415,000.

"It's likely that the widening gender pay gap represents another financial consequence of the pandemic. This is a troubling trend economists have previously reported on in other industry sectors," the company wrote in the report.

The latest report shows that the pandemic's effects on working women extends to healthcare, even though the industry is considered essential during the pandemic.
Advertisement

"What we are thinking is that women have more responsibilities at home and therefore have had to cut back on their hours," Dr. Peter Alperin, vice president at Doximity, told Business Insider. He also said that overall there's been a slowing of increases in compensation this year which has especially affected compensation for women in the medical field.

Overall 865,000 women left the workforce in September alone. That is about four times higher than the number of men who dropped out of the workforce that month. NPR reports that more demand within households may be contributing to this large decline of women in the workplace. The following chart highlights the medical specialties with the largest gender wage gaps, according to the Doximity report. Otolaryngology, or treating ear, nose, and throat issues, has the largest gap. Women make 77.9% of men's average annual salaries or is a wage gap of 22.1%. Women in this medical specialty make around $109,000 less than men.
Advertisement

The following chart highlights the medical specialties with the smallest wage gaps, based on the report. Nuclear medicine, which is a specialty that uses radiology to treat and diagnose diseases, had the smallest gap, where women make 97.5% of men or a wage gap of 2.5%. The second-smallest gap, however is much wider, where hematology, which focuses on blood and treating blood-related issues, has a gap of 11.4%.

Alperin said he hopes the wage gap figures from the report highlights the issue to policymakers and those that employ workers at private practices and hospitals.

Additionally, certain specialties, like emergency medicine and geriatric physicians, saw an increase in compensation which Alperin said may be due to higher demand during the pandemic.
Advertisement
{{}}