Labour Research December 2009

Equality news

Women doctors suffer from gender pay gap

Widespread discrimination in the NHS sees female doctors being paid thousands of pounds a year less than their male counterparts, according to research by the British Medical Association (BMA).

On average, female doctors earn £15,245 less than men. The report concludes: “Our results show that men and women with identical experience and expertise are paid differently — which suggests evidence of discrimination.”

The study of the pay of 1,015 NHS doctors found that between 40% to 50% of the disparity is caused by discrimination. After excluding differences due to specialism, age and experience, female junior doctors typically earn £2,000 less than their male colleagues.

And for female consultants there is a £5,000 pay gap which increases the longer they have worked. While more female than male consultants have salaries between £62,500 and £95,000, more male consultants earn between £110,000 and £190,000 than their female peers.

The report points out that although women are less likely to have high-level positions or be as involved in professional organisations, this accounts for only around 59% of the gap. It says: “The remainder is due to differences in treatment for the same characteristics.” Report co-author, Dr Anita Holdcroft, said: “Discrimination is the only way that we can explain the gender pay gap.”

The BMA said that the report “demonstrates that a worrying pay gap continues to exist between men and women in UK medicine”.