By Alicia Adamczyk
July 12, 2016
operating theatre
Joos Mind—Getty Images

Think comparable work experience, education, and a prestigious job title are enough to close the wage gap? Think again. Female physicians at public medical schools in the U.S. make almost $20,000 less than their comparable male counterparts, according to an analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine that analyzed salary information from over 10,000 academic physicians across the country.

The report used the Freedom of Information Act to gather compensation information for 10,241 physicians at 24 public medical schools, which was then crossed with information on the individual physicians’ “sex, age, years of experience, faculty rank, specialty, scientific authorship, National Institutes of Health funding, clinical trial participation, and Medicare reimbursements.”

After controlling for all of those factors, the report found that female physicians earned $19,878 less than their male colleagues. The uncontrolled wage difference was even more startling, at $51,315.

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The report also found that rank mattered less than gender in some cases: the adjusted salaries of female full professors were comparable to those of male associate professors, at $250,971 and $247,212, respectively. For those keeping score, a professor is a higher position that an associate professor.

Additionally, the report details that “a substantially higher proportion of women (receive) lower salaries” than men. For example, 57.1% of women that the study collected information on earned less than $200,000 annually, while 33.7% of men earned less than that. Meanwhile, 11.6% of men earned more than $400,000 annually, while just 3.2% of female physicians could say the same.

Specialty-wise, surgeons saw the biggest pay difference, with men making as much as $43,728 more than women on average. Radiology was the sole specialty in which women earned more than men, making on average $2,000 more when salaries were adjusted.

In sum, the report found that “(s)ignificant sex differences in salary exist in public medical schools after accounting for clinical and research productivity.”

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The phenomenon is nothing new: As MONEY reported a few months ago, Medscape’s annual compensation inquiry found a huge discrepancy in the pay of male and female physicians and specialists (though it noted that female doctors have enjoyed a sizable increase in pay in recent years).

Interestingly (or depressingly, depending on your perspective), physician is still the top-paying job for women according to BLS data, despite the persistent wage gap. It’s further proof that hard work, experience, job title, and education–common excuses for the gender wage gap–just don’t tell the full story when it comes to how men and women are compensated.

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