Average 25% pay gap between men and women doctors largely 'inexplicable'

According to the latest survey of UK hourly pay by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) female doctors' pay lags behind their male colleagues by 28.6%.

This "eye opener" pay gap, which trends suggest has stood at around 25% on average since 2000, remains largely inexplicable, says John Appleby, Chief Economist at the King's Fund, in an article published in the today.

He explores possible reasons for this persistent gender divide in medicine and suggests that doctors have some way to catch up with other health care jobs.

For example, nursing auxiliaries and assistants show the smallest bias in pay towards men, writes Appleby, with women's median hourly pay being 0.1% less than men's. For nurses the pay gap widens to 1.9%.

Female paramedics' and health service managers pay also lags behind their male colleagues by 4.9% and 5.8% respectively, while at 16%, the pay gap for pharmacists is nearly treble this.

Interestingly, female medical radiographers appear to earn 5.3% more than their male counterparts on average, adds Appleby.

But what explains the big gap in ' pay between men and women?

A 2009 study for the BMA suggested that some of the difference may be legitimate' and explained by factors such as experience, grade and administrative duties "although why men end up with more experience or on higher grades - and hence more pay - begs some questions," he writes.

Nevertheless, a significant part of the pay gap appeared to be 'unexplained' by such factors. The analysis suggested that female doctors were disadvantaged due to caring roles, a 'hostile culture' and geographical limitations which reduced their ability to change jobs (a key way to increase pay).

"These are of course problems faced by women in other occupations too. But it may be that these factors are more acute for female medical practitioners, suggests Appleby.

"Maybe there are lessons to be learned from some other health care professions, where gender differences are closer to zero," he concludes.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Science pay gap: gender discrimination?

Sep 05, 2006

A British study suggests discrimination plays a significant role in the pay gap between men and women scientists working in British universities.

Are there too many women in medicine?

Nov 30, 2011

In the UK, women doctors are set to outnumber their male counterparts by 2017. The press has dubbed the rise "worrying" and "bad for medicine" but in an editorial published by Student BMJ today, Maham Khan asks is medici ...

Recommended for you

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

Jul 30, 2014

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients ...

High frequency of potential entrapment gaps in hospital beds

Jul 30, 2014

A survey of beds within a large teaching hospital in Ireland has shown than many of them did not comply with dimensional standards put in place to minimise the risk of entrapment. The report, published online in the journal ...

Key element of CPR missing from guidelines

Jul 29, 2014

Removing the head tilt/chin lift component of rescue breaths from the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines could be a mistake, according to Queen's University professor Anthony Ho.

Burnout impacts transplant surgeons (w/ Video)

Jul 28, 2014

Despite saving thousands of lives yearly, nearly half of organ transplant surgeons report a low sense of personal accomplishment and 40% feel emotionally exhausted, according to a new national study on transplant surgeon ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kochevnik
not rated yet Sep 18, 2012
Why are women working for salary anyway? One would think their greatest effort would be aimed toward their family. Salary work fine for women without families but in general it indicates a society of debt slaves. Americans had better educations before the task was delegated to the federal government.