This just in: Male physicians continue to outearn female counterparts

Medscape released its annual Physician Compensation Report May 14, noting that in line with the past decade of its analysis, male physicians continue to earn more money than female physicians — 25 percent more in primary care and 33 percent more in specialty care, to be precise. 

Among primary care physicians, the pay gap of approximately 25 percent is consistent with years past. Full-time male primary care physicians earn $264,000 on average, whereas their female counterparts bring in $212,000.

The pay gap narrowed slightly for specialists compared to last year, from 33 percent to 31 percent. Full-time male specialists earn $375,000 on average, whereas their female counterparts bring in $286,000. 

For its 2020 report, Medscape collected responses from more than 17,000 physicians in more than 30 specialties. Data was collected from Oct. 4, 2019, through Feb. 10,  before the COVID-19 crisis began and healthcare organizations suspended elective surgeries. In a supplementary article to its survey, Medscape notes that experts expect benchmarks for physicians to be lowered and bonuses to be constricted in light of lower patient volume attributed to  COVID-19. 

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

The five specialties with the most female physicians are: 

  • OB-GYN: 58 percent 
  • Pediatrics: 58 percent
  • Rheumatology: 54 percent
  • Dermatology: 49 percent
  • Diabetes and endocrinology: 45 percent 

The five specialties with the fewest female physicians are: 

  • Urology: 10 percent
  • Orthopedics: 11 percent
  • Plastic surgery: 16 percent
  • Cardiology: 16 percent 
  • Pulmonary medicine: 17 percent 

Specialties that have seen the most significant gains to female representation since 2015 include OB-GYN (50 percent in 2015), pediatrics (50 percent), rheumatology (29 percent) and dermatology (32 percent).

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