The gender salary gap continues in most every occupation, and MD pay is included. While experts try to pin down the reason the salary disparity still exists, women can try to close the gap with every job change.
Sometimes it can be addressed in salary conversations, others in negotiations around the entire job package from retirement benefits to parking spaces during a job search.
"In my experience, there are usually two explanations for pay discrepancies between males and females in high-earning and high-demand fields," says Rebecca Dallek, a career and leadership coach. "The first is that women are opting to exchange dollars for other, non-monetary benefits. The other is that there is, in fact, a gender bias."
Both explanations are worth considering as physicians begin the job search or transition from one job to the next.
Physician salaries are set by national averages, and the information is most commonly used to determine salary rates when MDs change jobs. But it's worth keeping in mind that a variety of methods are used to establish MD pay rates.
"The studies I've seen are not yet conclusive on why there is a significant earnings gap between males and females, but there is some strong evidence that gender discrimination still exists across most fields," observes Dallek.
She says women need to learn to negotiate and advocate for themselves professionally. This includes gathering as much data as possible about the pay at a hospital or practice where they are applying for a new job.
"Either way, it is worthwhile to ask for additional funds or benefits," she notes. "I've never seen a case where a job was rescinded when someone tried to tactfully negotiate salary or benefits."
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