In a profession dominated by women, men in nursing earn more than $6,000 more a year than their female counterparts, according to a new survey of more than 4,500 nurses across the country.
The Nursing Salary Research Report, which included registered nurses from all 50 states, showed men earn an average of $79,688 compared to $73,090 for women. Men make up about 12 percent of the U.S. nursing workforce.
"Even taking into account total hours worked, years of nursing experience, age, education level and certification status, men still are making more money than women," said Robert Hess Jr., Nurse.com by OnCourse Learning's executive vice president and chief clinical executive of healthcare, in a statement. "And from our robust research, salary is the most important job factor for nurses across all demographics."
The trend in nursing mirrors a larger trend occurring across the healthcare industry. Physicians and health IT professionals often see double-digit percentage differences between the salaries of men and women.
According to separate research reports posted earlier this year from Medscape and HIMSS, male primary care physicians earned nearly 18 percent more than their female counterparts, averaging $239,000 versus $203,000 for women. Men in specialties earned 36 percent more than women this year and that gap has widened since last year when it was 31 percent. Men in specialties earned an average $358,000 versus $263,000 for women, a gap of more than $100,000.
Health IT professionals are largely in the same boat, with men earning $123,244 while women earned $100,447.
The new Nurse.com survey includes commentary from a number of professionals. One of them is Brent MacWilliams, president of the American Association for Men in Nursing, who would like to see the gender pay gap change.
"Traditionally, men have gravitated toward acute care, high-paid specialties and to management/administration, which are all higher paying," he said. "Based on this survey, it seems clear men are being paid significantly more than women in the profession doing comparable work. I would call on employers to assess their current workforce for gender gaps and raise salaries to create parity."
One important aspect of earnings is men are more likely to negotiate their salaries, the survey found. While 43 percent of men "most of the time or always" negotiate, only 34 percent of women do so, which may partially account for the pay gap in healthcare and other professions.
Fifty percent of overall respondents said pursuing higher education, certification or training to boost salary was a consideration or goal. Attaining professional certifications is one way female nurses can close the salary gap. Survey results showed men with specialty certifications had a salary only $1,252 higher than certified female nurses — still a gap, but a smaller one.
The Physician Compensation Report released by Doximity in March found that in 2017, the gender pay gap between male and female doctors actually increased. Female doctors earned 27.7 percent less, or $105,000 less, than their male counterparts. The disparity in 2016 was 26.5 percent, when female doctors earned $91,284 less. There was no medical specialty in which women earned more than men.
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