Understanding The Wage Gap For Women Physicians, And What We Can Do About It

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We’re continuing our Women’s History month celebrations with new content, just for women physicians. Today, we’re tackling the topic of the gender wealth gap. 

The gender wealth gap prevails in many trades; unfortunately, the medical industry isn’t immune. 

The good news? With the right strategies and team behind them, women physicians should be able to flip the script and take control of their financial future. Let’s take a closer look at the wage gap and what women physicians can do about it.

 

Women Physicians Earn Less From Day One (Which Costs Them Millions, Literally)

The pay gap between male and female physicians has been quietly discussed for years, but we believe it is time to bring it to the forefront of discussion. It’s not a secret anymore—a Health Affairs study found that women physicians earn $2 million less over a 40-year career.

We worked with a husband and wife dealing with a pay inequity situation. They were both coming out of fellowships (in different specialties) and were considering job offers at the same hospital. 

We took the RVU thresholds, corresponding compensation from each contract, and compared them to Medical Group Management Association benchmarking data. Here’s what we found. 

The husband’s offer was more competitive than the wife’s. He was going to be paid at the 75th percentile for productivity in the 75th percentile. The wife was just under the 50th percentile, since she was part time, but her pay was going to be salaried at the 25th percentile. 

We helped her negotiate an offer similar to her husband’s! She didn’t need to work full time to be productive, and we wanted her to be paid for every bit of that productivity.

Researchers considered certain factors that would affect pay like hours worked, clinical revenue, practice type, and specialty. Unfortunately, generally the more specialized you become, the more significant the wage gap. Within the same Health Affairs study, the largest gap was surgical specialists, and the smallest gap was primary care. 

Then when you factor in the aftermath of the pandemic—lack of sustainable child care, increased burnout, personal responsibilities—the wage gap has increased even further. These challenges can force an early exit from the workforce or require scaling back, which can drastically impact lifetime earnings and retirement savings.

The moral of the story: the wage gap isn’t going to shrink on its own. So, what are women physicians supposed to do? Is it possible to overcome the wage gap? At Vestia, we believe the answer to this question is firmly a “yes” – and this is how we can do it together.

 

Deeply Understand Your True Value And Negotiate For It

It may seem cliche to say, “know your worth,” but we believe understanding your true value is key at the negotiation table. 

Empowering women physicians is one of our key pillars. Our process at Vesta should enable us to review the monetary value that’s attached to your productivity. If you aren’t being compensated correctly for all the work you’re doing, we may be able to help give you the tools to negotiate effectively and help prove your worth. 

If you’re just starting out, you may think you don’t have the power or experience to counter the offer, but that’s not always the case. Don’t take the first offer—negotiate! Consider what’s most valuable to you (and know that nearly everything is negotiable). You may need a higher base salary, performance bonus, sign-on bonus, or a tailored parental leave plan. You don’t want to look back and wish you had negotiated for more.

The wealth gap starts early, do what you can to snap it shut right from the get-go. 

 

Grow Your Wealth Intentionally

Building wealth is one of the most powerful tools women physicians can have. We believe creating unique financial strategies and thoughtful investment plans is critical for growing your wealth. Women often outperform men from an investment perspective and make smart decisions with their finances, according to a Fidelity study. 

Building and growing your wealth intentionally generally starts by making a plan with a trusted financial advisor. Your financial advisor should help you:

  • Understand your goals and values
  • Make a realistic budget
  • Build an emergency fund
  • Automate your saving and investing contributions
  • Make a debt-repayment plan
  • Diversify your investment portfolio

And that’s just the beginning! We can help you build a comprehensive investment strategy tailored to your risk preferences, unique timeline, and goals. 

 

Lean On A Trusted Professional

According to Fidelity, many women are good with money because they know when to bring in a professional. You can’t do everything on your own, and you shouldn’t have to.

Vestia’s program for women physicians was carefully and thoughtfully designed for women by women. This innovative planning process should help you discover the purpose of your money so you can create wealth that matters,

Take the next step to a vibrant, confident life—set up a time to talk with our team today.

Disclosures:

Investment advisory services offered through Vestia Personal Wealth Advisors, Vestia Retirement Plan Consultants, and Vestia Advisors, LLC. Securities offered through Ausdal Financial Partners, Inc., 5187 Utica Ridge Rd, Davenport, IA. 52807 (563)326-2064. Member FINRA/SIPC. Vestia Personal Wealth Advisors, Vestia Retirement Plan Consultants, Vestia Advisors, LLC, and Ausdal Financial Partners, Inc. are independently owned and operated.

This material is intended for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal or tax advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney or tax advisor.  This information is not an offer or a solicitation to buy or sell securities.  The information contained may have been compiled from third-party sources and is believed to be reliable. All investing involves risk, including the loss of principal.

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