Men still earn more than women in medicine, Medscape physician compensation survey finds

The research also found that womens’ salaries grew at a higher rate than their male counterparts, while orthopedists, cardiologists, dermatologists are the highest-paid doctors.

Male physicians still earn higher salaries than females in the same role, according to the Medscape 2016 compensation survey, but the salaries of women increased by a greater percentage.

For primary care physicians, the difference is $225,000 a year for men versus $192,000 for women. For specialists, it’s $242,000 versus $173,000.

Female salaries, however, rose at 36 percent versus 29 percent for male PCPs; and 40 percent versus 34 percent for specialists, according to the survey.

There are more male than female physicians, 65 percent compared to 35 percent, though women are catching up at younger ages.

Among both sexes, Orthopedic doctors are the highest paid, followed by cardiologists and dermatologists.

Orthopedics earnings totaled $443,000 annually, factoring in salary, bonus and profit-sharing contributions, according to the Medscape survey of nearly 19,200 physicians in over 26 specialties. This specialty was followed by cardiologists at $410,000 and dermatologists at $381,000.

Physicians who own their practices have higher salaries. Primary care employed physicians earn $207,000 compared to their self-employed peers at $229,000. Specialists earn significantly more in both categories, said Medscape, which is part of WebMD.

The largest salary increases went to rheumatologists and internists at 12 percent, followed by nephrologists and dermatologists at 11 percent, according to the survey.

The increase is internist salaries is attributed to the migration to hospital medicine and the number of baby boomers, about 10,000 a day, who are turning 65, according to Travis Singleton, senior vice president of Merritt Hawkins, a national physician search firm.

Younger doctors especially are heading toward employment rather than private practice, with the rate of practice ownership decreasing from 61 percent in 2007-2008 to 53 percent in 2012, the survey said.

The area of the country where a physician lives makes a difference of $30,000 a year between the highest paid North Central region and the lowest Northeast section of the country.

The highest paid doctors are in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa, where they make $296,000 a year, followed by physicians in the Southeast at $287,000.

Higher incomes are paid to physicians in rural and poor communities as government policies are aimed at improving access to doctors, according to the survey.  

The gap has narrowed, according to Singleton, with urban markets raising salaries to keep pace, causing smaller, more rural markets to add compensation through salaries, bonuses and loan forgiveness. However, socioeconomic and competition largely drive compensation, he said.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse

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