Recent Survey Shows Female Physicians Earn Substantially Less

21 Oct, 2021 F.J. Thomas


Sarasota, FL ( – While male physicians were more likely to see a reduction in hours in 2020, according to the most recent Medscape Female Physician Compensation Report 2021, they still managed to make 35 percent more than their fellow female physicians for the same jobs.

From October 2020 to February of this year, Medscape analysts surveyed 4100 female physicians about not only their income, bonuses, and hours worked, but also their greatest challenges on the job and what gives them the greatest career satisfaction.

The annual income for female primary care physicians averaged $211K, a slight drop from the previous year’s survey at $212K. The same trend was noted for female specialists at $283K annually, dropping from $286K during the previous year.

Women make up less than one fifth of the overall physician population, but account for a third of the specialists. Women make up the large majority of pediatrics at 61 percent, as well as OB/GYN at 59 percent. For diabetes and endocrinology, women make up 50 percent of the providers, with a similar percentage of 47 percent for family medicine. In higher paying specialties, women only make up 9 percent of the providers in orthopedics, 14 percent of cardiologists, and 20 percent of general surgery providers.

Among PCP’s, men earn 27 percent more than fellow female providers. When broken out by specialists, male specialists earn 33 percent more than female specialists – up 2 percent from the previous year. When comparing income over all, men make 35 percent more than their female physician counterparts, with the largest income gap occurring between ages 35 to 54.

In comparing practice setting, women in solo practices made the most this last year at $281K, a substantial decrease over the previous year at $290K. Female physicians working in a hospital setting earned the second highest at $269K, followed by office based single practice specialty at $268K. Female physicians working in outpatient clinic settings earned the least at $223K.

Physicians work an average of 51 hours per week, with 16.3 hours spent on paperwork and administrative duties, which equates to 34.7 hours spent seeing patients. According to the Medscape survey, female physicians spend around 10 percent less time seeing patients than their male counterparts.

When asked about how they felt about their compensation, 54 percent of women felt they were fairly compensated. When asked about debt, more female physicians stated they were paying off school loans and child care. Additionally, 44 percent of female physicians stated they lived below their means, 50 stated they lived within their financial means, and 6 percent stated they lived above their means.

When asked what was the most rewarding part of the job, 29 percent stated gratitude from patients, 28 percent stated helping others and making a difference, and 21 percent stated being very good at what they did. When asked about the most challenging parts of their job, rules and regulations were cited by 20 percent of the female physicians. Seventeen percent stated long work hours were the most difficult part of the job, followed by dealing with difficult patients at 16 percent.


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    About The Author

    • F.J. Thomas

      F.J. Thomas has worked in healthcare business for more than fifteen years in Tennessee. Her experience as a contract appeals analyst has given her an intimate grasp of the inner workings of both the provider and insurance world. Knowing first hand that the industry is constantly changing, she strives to find resources and information you can use.

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