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Survey: Male Physicians Continue to Make More Than Female Physicians in 2016

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Earlier this month, Medscape released its “Physician Compensation Report 2016,” and according to Carol Peckham over at the publication’s website, the report is based on information collected from “nearly 19,200 physicians in over 26 specialties,” who “disclosed not only their compensation, but also how many hours they work per week, how many minutes they spend with each patient, the most rewarding part of their job, changes to their practice resulting from healthcare reform, and more.”

In previous posts, we’ve looked at physician compensation by specialty, by geographic region, and by state. We also examined the salaries of employed physicians vs. independent physicians.

This time, we examine who earns more: male or female physicians.

According to Medscape, compensation still favors male physicians over female physicians in 2016, “whether they are PCPs ($225,000 [for men] vs. $192,000 [for women], respectively) or specialists ($324,000 vs. $242,000, respectively).”

Progress is gradually being made, however, Peckham notes. “In 2012, male specialists made $242,000 vs. $173,000 for women. Male PCPs made $174,000 and their female peers made $141,000.”

Therefore, “women's earnings increased more between the 2012 and 2016 reports than did men's: 36 percent for female PCPs and 29 percent for their male peers. For specialists, the percentage increases between those years are 40 percent for women and 34 percent for men.”

Looking at this subject from another angle, Medscape then asked: How much less do women make than men?

“Overall,” Peckham reports, “female physicians make 24 percent less than their male peers, although there is less of a disparity among PCPs (15 percent) than specialists (25 percent).”

“The persistence of these disparities is puzzling because we see no contractual bias from our clients against female candidates,” one expert interviewed by Medscape said. This expert suspected that the answer to these disparities might be found in comparing the male physicians’ work schedules with the female physicians’ schedules, “particularly with younger female physicians who are in their peak child-rearing years and require flexible schedules, including part-time.”

Peckham isn’t sure about the accuracy of this observation, she writes, since “the compensation reported here is based in full-time positions.”

As physicians who are looking for jobs, which factors do you think account for this disparity in compensation between male physicians and female physicians?

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