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

Humiliation tops list of mistreatment toward med students

12 hours ago

Each year thousands of students enroll in medical schools across the country. But just how many feel they've been disrespected, publicly humiliated, ridiculed or even harassed by their superiors at some point during their ...

Surrogate offers clues into man with 16 babies

20 hours ago

When the young Thai woman saw an online ad seeking surrogate mothers, it seemed like a life-altering deal: $10,000 to help a foreign couple that wanted a child but couldn't conceive.

Nurses go on strike in Ebola-hit Liberia

20 hours ago

Nurses at Liberia's largest hospital went on strike on Monday, demanding better pay and equipment to protect them against a deadly Ebola epidemic which has killed hundreds in the west African nation.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge arrives in North Korea

Aug 31, 2014

It's pretty hard to find a novel way to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge by now, but two-time Grammy-winning rapper Pras Michel, a founding member of the Fugees, has done it—getting his dousing in the center ...

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

Aug 28, 2014

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

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.