Physician pay gap largest for surgical specialists

A new study published in HealthAffairs found that the gender pay gap for physicians is highest for surgical specialists..

While the study found the difference in lifetime earnings between male and female physicians was about $2 million overall, surgical specialists had an even bigger gap than the average, at $2.5 million. 

The study evaluated earnings data from 80,342 full-time physicians to estimate career differences in income between men and women. Over the course of a 40-year career, male physicians earned an average adjusted gross income of $8,307,327 compared with an average of $6,263,446 for female physicians — a difference of about 25 percent.

Nonsurgical specialists had a $1.6 million gap, and primary care physicians had a $900,000 gap, the study said.

Gross income averages were calculated after adjusting for factors such as hours worked, clinical revenue, practice type and specialty.

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