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The gender gap in compensation

Why do women hospitalists earn less?

Published in the November 2010 issue of Today's Hospitalist

TAKE A LOOK AT THE RESULTS of the 2010 Today's Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey by gender, and you'll notice a stark difference in pay along gender lines. While male hospitalists reported earning a mean compensation of just under $220,000, their female counterparts reported earning just under $184,000. That's a difference of $36,000, or nearly 20%. Here's an analysis of the possible reasons for those differences.

What types of patients do you manage? One key to the gender gap in hospitalist pay may be the types of patients women treat. Women treat significantly more pediatric patients than men, which is important because hospitalists who treat children earn significantly less ($169,556) than those treating adults ($214,705).

It's no surprise, then, that many more female hospitalists trained in pediatrics than their male colleagues.

How are you paid? Another reason that female hospitalists may be paid less than their male colleagues: More of them report being paid via a salary as opposed to pure productivity or a combination of the two. Our survey this year found that hospitalists who are paid straight salary receive significantly less ($181,465) than physicians whose compensation also includes a productivity component ($214,240).

Do you work in the ICU? Women are less likely to work in the ICU, which will reduce their pay. Overall, hospitalists who work in the ICU earn $216,819 compared to only $185,648 for hospitalists who don't have ICU duties.

How much experience do you have as a hospitalist? Years of experience breaks down among gender lines, with women reporting about one year less of experience. That's potentially significant because data show that the more years of experience hospitalists have, the more they earn.

On a related note, female hospitalists tend to be about two years younger than their male counterparts. That's also potentially significant because older hospitalists tend to earn more.

How many shifts a month do you work? Finally, if you think the key to women hospitalists earning less than their male colleagues is because they work fewer shifts, that's not borne out in our data. Women hospitalists reported working a mean of 15.08 shifts per month vs. 15.69 for men—only a 4% difference.

For details about hospitalist pay, work hours and more, go to the 2010 survey results online at

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