Study reveals where health care gender pay gap is widest

From physicians to registered nurses, the gender pay gap among health care workers remains an industry concern.

According to research published in Health Affairs Scholar, gender inequity continues to harm both women’s compensation and career advancement in health care, despite women performing roughly 77% of all U.S. health care jobs. But it doesn’t affect each health care career the same.

“The adjusted wage gap between women and men is the largest among workers in high-education health care (eg., 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,” University of Minnesota associate professor Janette Dill and University of Washington professor Bianca K Frogner, both research authors, reported.

To determine just how destructive the gender wage gap is within the health care industry, the researchers performed a retrospective analysis of Current Population Survey data from 2003 to 2021, which contains data on roughly 60,000 households. The results revealed the gender pay gap was narrowest within nursing occupations, with female registered nurses making 82% of their male counterpart’s wages. Although nursing careers have the narrowest gaps, 82% still represents a 5% decline over the past two decades.

The gender wage gap was the widest among advanced practitioners, where women made only 68% as much as men. Physicians faced a 70% wage gap.

“What accounts for the gender wage gap?” Dill and Frogner asked in their report. “Across occupations, occupational segregation — where men and women work in specific occupations — accounts for almost half of the overall gender wage gap. Women-dominated occupations pay less, often much less, than male-dominated occupations, when controlling for education, skill level, work experience, and other factors.”

Here is a full list of the gender wage gap within the health care industry for 2021, as provided by Becker’s Hospital Review:


Men: $245,039

Women: $164,099

Advanced practice, excluding RNs

Men: $109,349

Women: $81,976

RNs, including APRN

Men: $88,667

Women: $69,201


Men: $56,380

Women: $51,501


Men: $64,524

Women: $45,993


Men: $57,502

Women: $46,925

Aides and assistants

Men: $35,574

Women: $27,862

Community-based workers

Men: $49,138

Women: $50,564

Less than high school

Men: $54,094

Women: $26,688

High school diploma or equivalent

Men: $38,444

Women: $29,070

Some college

Men: $40,630

Women: $29,303

Associate’s degree

Men: $57,336

Women: $45,216

Bachelor’s degree

Men: $71,470

Women: $61,186

Master’s degree

Men: $94,542

Women: $68,410

Professional school/doctorate

Men: $186,320

Women: $122,311