Male physicians see 30% larger paychecks than their female colleagues

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Male physicians continue to earn more money than female physicians in 2021 — 27 percent more in primary care and 33 percent more in specialty care, to be precise. 

The findings come from Medscape's annual Physician Compensation Report, released April 16, and are in line with the past decade of its analysis regarding the gender pay gap for physicians. 

Among primary care physicians, the pay gap of approximately 27 percent is consistent with years past. Full-time male primary care physicians earn $269,000 on average, whereas their female counterparts bring in $211,000. Interestingly, annual earnings ticked up 2 percent this year for men while they fell 0.4 percent for women. 

Full-time male specialists earn $376,000 on average, whereas their female counterparts bring in $283,000. The same dynamic occurred for specialists, with the annual pay ticking up in the past year for men (0.3 percent) while falling for women (-1 percent).

Women are paid less than men in almost all occupations regardless of whether they work in occupations predominantly held by women, occupations predominantly held by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women, according to an analysis of 2020 earnings data from the Institute for Women's Policy Research. 

For its 2021 report, Medscape collected responses from nearly 18,000 physicians in more than 29 specialties. Data was collected from Oct. 6, 2020, through Feb. 11. 

The report also breaks out the percentage of women physicians by specialty. 

The five specialties with the most female physicians are: 

  • Pediatrics: 61 percent
  • OB-GYN: 59 percent 
  • Diabetes and endocrinology: 50 percent 
  • Family medicine: 47 percent
  • Dermatology: 46 percent

The five specialties with the fewest female physicians are: 

  • Orthopedics: 9 percent
  • Urology: 11 percent
  • Cardiology: 14 percent 
  • General surgery: 20 percent
  • Plastic surgery: 20 percent

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