Female surgeons aim for $30K less in salary than their male counterparts, study finds

When asked what an ideal salary would be after completing residency, female surgeons expected $30,000 a year less than male surgeons who took the survey, a study from LA BioMed found.

LA BioMed, an independent nonprofit biomedical research organization, sent anonymous questionnaires to 607 general surgical residents at 19 U.S. residency programs. Over 70 percent of residents finished the survey, 44 percent of whom were female.

One reason behind the differing pay expectations was women not feeling as comfortable asking for more money as their male peers and not feeling they had tthe proper tools to negotiate, the researchers said. Female respondents also were less likely to seek out other job offers as a negotiating tactic.

Both male and female respondents, however, reported no difference in how many hours they expected to work, their desire to hold leadership positions or their desire to pursue research.  

U.S. residency salaries are standardized by hospital and state guidelines, allowing for pay equity by gender, but physicians are on their own when it comes to negotiating their compensation packages after they finish training.

"Female residents in our study undervalued their annual future earning potential by an average of $30,000 as compared to their male counterparts. Over the span of a 30-year career, that is nearly $1 million," said Christian de Virgilio, MD, LA BioMed researcher and chair of the department of surgery at the UCLA-Harbor Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The study findings can help hospitals better understand gender salary disparities in surgeons, the researchers said.

More articles on compensation: 
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