July 22, 2016

Only Radiology Achieves Gender Wage Parity

In academic medicine, radiology has distinguished itself as the only medical specialty where female practitioners earn more than their male counterparts, according to a study of sex differences in physician salaries at public medical schools published in July 11 online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

By mining publicly available data for 10,241 academic physicians from 24 public medical schools, lead author Anupam B. Jena, MD, PhD, an associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School determined that the average annual unadjusted salary for 3549 female physicians in the study was $206,641 compared to a $257,957 average for male physicians, an overall $51,316 difference.

New York Times coverage of the study, also released on July 11, singled out radiology as the only specialty that paid women clinicians more than men in similar academic settings. Their adjusted average salary exceeded the average salary for male radiologists by about $2,000. A chart that accompanied the Time coverage indicated that the unadjusted salaries for both sexes were around $270,000 per year.

According to the Times report, the study found the average pay gap between male and female orthopedic surgeons was nearly $41,000. The difference favoring men was about $38,000 among oncologists and blood specialists, $36,000 among obstetrician-gynecologists and $34,000 among cardiologists.

The adjusted salaries of female full professors ($250,971) were comparable to male associate professors ($247,212), but except for radiology, significant sex differences in salary were found favoring men even after accounting for age, experience specialty, faculty rank, and measures of research productivity and clinical revenue.