Women working in medicine in the UK earn on average 5.5% less than their male counterparts, according to gender pay gap research from the King’s Fund.
The think tank analysed data from the Office for National Statistics, revealing that the average full-time female doctor earns £30.93 an hour, compared to a male doctor earning £32.74 an hour.
While there is a “persisting” pay gap, according to the King’s Fund, this has dropped dramatically over the past five years across all roles, from 20.9% to 5.5%.
In some female dominated roles in the health and care sector, women are now paid marginally more than men – £0.03 more for care workers per hour and £0.16 for nurses.
The gender pay gap is much wider in general practice, with male doctors earning 50% more than female GPs. Male GPs took home £146,000 on average last year, while female GPs earned £97,500. The King’s Fund attributes this to more men running their own practices, and therefore benefiting from that income.
Its research found that one of the key drivers of the pay gap in healthcare was that male workers are disproportionately in higher-paid roles. Just over 40% of the highest earners were male, even though the overall workforce was only 31.3% male.
In social care, 31% of senior management were male, but the overall workforce was just 19% male.
NHS gender pay gap
Danielle Jefferies, an analyst in the policy team at the King’s Fund, said there were lots of actions the government could take to close the pay gap, including offering more flexible working options, and “changing the narrative around the importance of NHS managers”, to encourage more female staff to apply for senior roles.
“Improving the workplace culture by helping people feel valued and a sense of belonging would reduce turnover rates in female workers,” she added.
“Social care is also an example of a female-dominated profession that is undervalued, so improving pay in social care would help close the overall UK gender pay gap.”
Jefferies urged NHS employers to continue measuring and discussing the gender pay gap.
“While it is great that there has been progress over the last five years, any gender gap should raise questions for national and organisational leaders about what more they could be doing to support such a large proportion of their workforce,” she said.