The Gender Wage Gap Among Healthcare Workers Across Educational and Occupational Groups

  • Abstract

    Women perform 77% of healthcare jobs in the US, but gender inequity within the healthcare sector harms women’s compensation and advancement in healthcare jobs. Using data from 2003 to 2021 of the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS), we measure women’s representation and the gender wage gap in healthcare jobs by education level and occupational category. We find descriptively that women’s representation in healthcare occupations has increased over time in occupations that require a master’s or doctoral/professional degree (e.g., physicians, therapists), while men’s representation has increased slightly in nursing occupations (e.g., registered nurses, LPNs/LVNs, aides and assistants). The adjusted wage gap between women and men is the largest among workers in high-education healthcare (e.g., physicians, advanced practitioners) but has decreased substantially over the last 20 years, while descriptively the gender wage gap has stagnated or grown larger in some lower education occupations. Our policy recommendations include gender equity reviews within healthcare organizations, prioritizing women managers, and realigning Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement policies to promote greater gender equity within and across healthcare occupations.

  • Authors:

    Dill J, Frogner BK

  • Journal/Publisher:

    Health Affairs Scholar

  • Edition:

    Dec 2023. qxad090

  • Funder:

    HRSA: HWRC Health Equity

  • Link to Article

    Access the article here: Health Affairs Scholar

  • Citation:

    Janette S Dill, Bianca K Frogner. The gender wage gap among healthcare workers across educational and occupational groups. Health Affairs Scholar. 2023;qxad090.

  • Related Studies:

    Gender-Based Wage Gaps Among Health Care Workers: Is There a Spillover Effect?