The healthcare industry is following other industries with an increased focus and growing sense of alarm over the gender pay gap.
According to Doximity, in 2017, female physicians on average earned $105,000 (27.7%) less than male physicians. Similarly, a 2016 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that female academic physicians at public medical schools earned on average $51,315 (20%) less than their male counterparts. At last week’s Annual Meeting, the American Medical Association’s (AMA) House of Delegates adopted a resolution to address this pay disparity among physicians and within the AMA.
The AMA resolution is a great reminder that healthcare employers should be mindful of the pay equity gap and the need to address this issue. Here are some practices healthcare employers can adopt to promote pay equity and reduce their exposure to pay disparity claims:
- Discuss the pay equity challenge with senior leaders so they are aware of the issues and can help formulate a response
- Tweak or perhaps completely rebuild compensation structures
- Transparently and objectively define compensation criteria and pay structures
- Consider a routine audit of salaries and make appropriate adjustments to ensure pay equity
- Provide training to reduce implicit bias in determining compensation
- Create educational programs about negotiating fair compensation
Healthcare employers should also learn the ins and outs of the growing number of state and municipal pay equity laws and ordinances prohibiting inquiries into job applicants’ salary history. For more information see Jackson Lewis’ recent updates on pay equity laws enacted by California, Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon, and Massachusetts or visit Jackson Lewis’ Pay Equity Advisor Blog.
The AMA’s attention to the pay equity gap is a reminder that the healthcare industry is not immune from the problems causing pay disparity or the legal and societal pressures to achieve pay equity.