Female occupational health practitioners earn on average 23 per cent less than their male counterparts, according to a survey by LexisNexis IRS for the journal Occupational Health Review.
The survey of 162 OH practitioners found that the average full-time salary for an OH professional was £32,000, with occupational physicians earning the most.
The pay gap between male and female OH professionals was most marked in OH nursing and in health and safety. The average male salary was £37,000, compared with just £30,000 for female peers.
The largest gender pay gap was for health and safety practitioners, where, at £28,000, women earned 24 per cent less than men. Male OH nurses can expect to earn £33,455, against £29,000 for women, a 13 per cent difference.
Those working in the private sector also generally did better than their NHS or public sector equivalents, earning £33,000 against £31,200.
But for OH nurses the situation was reversed, with the public sector slightly more profitable than the private. London and the South East were the best paid regions for OH practitioners. Most OH professionals got a 3 per cent pay rise this year, although increases were often based on individual performance. A third of those polled got bonuses or benefits such as company cars, and most expected to get a final-salary pension.
Other benefits typically included private medical insurance, a mobile phone and above-average holiday entitlement.
Although most were expected to work a 37-hour week, seven out of 10 worked longer, with no extra pay.
On average, practitioners said they received five days’ training a year, mostly paid for by their employer.