According to a recent article by the LA times, approximately 2.5 million nurses—and the families they support—are being shortchanged by gender-based pay difference. Even in an industry that’s 90 percent female dominated, it still pays to be a man.
The study the article references led by Ulrike Muench, a nurse practitioner with a doctorate from Yale University studying healthcare economics at UC San Francisco, suggests that male nurses earn nearly $11,000 more annually than their female counterparts. And only half of that difference can be traced back to factors such as experience, education, and specialty.
Muench and her colleagues examined two decades worth of salary information from the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses. The survey collected data once every four years from more than 30,000 registered nurses across the country and altogether included responses from approximately 88,000 full-time RNs. 93 percent of the nurses in the sample were women.
The result? A $5,148 salary gap that largely discriminates against women.
In raw analysis, the average salaries for men were $10,775 higher, but then the team factored in location, hours per week, years of experience, and type of degree, which accounted for half of the gap. With nurses earning an average of $66,973 per year, that’s about an 8 percent bump for men. This discrepancy can be seen every year dating back to 1988, and although the gap narrowed in the middle to late 90s, it widened again after 2000. In specialties such as cardiology the gap was even greater. The only specialty that didn’t have a statistically significant pay gap was orthopedics.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, for every dollar earned by a male nurse in 2013, a female RN earned 91.1 cents, which is actually well above the overall average of 78.8 cents to the dollar of all industries.
Muench hopes that the new research will at least “start a conversation” between nurses and their employers. Do you feel like you’ve been a victim of the nursing wage gap in your organization? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
If you’re currently for a new opportunity in the healthcare industry, let the experienced recruiters at BOS Medical help. Since 2008, BOS Medical has brought talented nurses, therapists and medical administrators together with top facilities in Northeast Georgia and nationwide. Contact BOS Medical today to start paving the way towards a new career path.