Blog | Friday, June 15, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Women earn $12,000 less annually in academic medicine

Female academic physicians would earn more than $12,000 annually if they were men, even after adjusting for differences in specialty, productivity, academic rank and work hours, a study reported.

Over a 30-year career, that could conservatively translate to a $350,000 pay gap, researchersreported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Results are based on 800 physicians who practice at U.S. academic institutions and reported their current salary. The mean salary was $167,669 (95% CI, $158,417 to $176,922) for women and $200,433 (95% CI, $194,249 to $206,617) for men. A regression model showed that the expected mean salary for women, if they retained their other measured characteristics but their gender was male, would be $12,194 more.

"Much of the overall gender difference in salary observed in this study was explained by specialty," the researchers wrote. "Women were far less likely to be represented in higher-paying interventional specialties than men, with the notable exception of obstetrics and gynecology. It may be important to consider the gender gap without adjustment for specialty if women do not choose but rather are encouraged to occupy lower-paid specialties or if those specialties pay less partly because they are predominated by women."

Leadership positions and academic rank might also explain some of the pay gap.

While previous studies found that female physicians were more likely to sacrifice pay for parental flexibility, this study no interaction between gender and parental status, as "even women without children had lower pay than men."

Editor's Note: QD: News Every Day will resume publication on Tuesday, June 26th.