In New York, pay difference not only persists, it widens, between new male and female doctors

Doctor putting money in pocket
The gender gap persists when it comes to salaries for male and female doctors. (Getty/Niyazz)

A study that looked at new physicians in New York state had discouraging news for female doctors.

The research (PDF) found that not only have differences in pay persisted between newly trained male and female doctors, the gap has grown over time.

RELATED: Female physicians sue Carolinas HealthCare system, say male doctor paid significantly more for the same job 

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While the number of women doctors completing training has steadily increased, the pay gap between men and women in 2016 was more than $26,000 after taking into account factors such as specialty, setting, practice location and patient care hours, researchers at the University of Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies found. The center analyzed trends in starting salaries for physicians who completed graduate medical education training in New York over the last 15 years.

Using data from its annual survey of physicians completing residency or fellowship training in New York, the researchers found that in 2016 the average male physician starting income was $26,367 more than that of females. That number actually dropped slightly from the 2015 survey, when the disparity was $27,214, but reflected an increase over time. For instance, the pay gap was $22,376 in 2014. Also, in comparison, the gender pay disparity was less than $10,000 in 2005 and only $11,931 in 2010.

 

RELATED: Gender gap exists in doctors' salaries, but experience and productivity play a part in disparity

The study also found that female physicians earn less than their male counterparts in the majority of specialties, including the following primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine and general pediatrics.

The biggest difference in starting pay was for dermatologists, as male doctors earned $79,815 more than women. It was also high in the field of cardiology, where men earned $64,183 more than their female counterparts. The gender gap was lowest among pathologists, with the gap of $2,052.

The New York study was in line with other national studies that have found female physicians earn less than their male colleagues. The gap has not gone unnoticed. A trio of female pediatricians who work at an affiliate of Carolinas HealthCare System (which just changed its name to Atrium Health) filed suit last year, alleging that the health system paid them substantially less than a male counterpart on the basis of their gender.

RELATED: Pay difference persists between male and female physician assistants

It's also true that the disparity is not unique to doctors. A study of physician assistants last year found women earned $16,052 less than male counterparts. And the gap persists between male and female nurses with men making 10% more than women, though the number of male nurses remains relatively small.