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Review of the gender pay gap in the medical profession

Sheffield children’s hospital 20 Oct 2016
Two doctors in conversation

The Department of Health and Social Care has set up an independent review of the gender pay gap in medicine.

We expect that the review will produce strong evidence of the causes of the gender pay gap and that its recommendations will have long-term impact on gender equality and pay in the medical profession.

Read our news story

Read our blog 'At last, someone is minding the gap'

Read our blog 'Everyone benefits from closing the gender pay gap'

Read our blog 'The gender pay gap - how it affects me' by Cristina Costache

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Find out more...

  • What is the gender pay gap and how does it differ from equal pay?

    The gender pay gap shows the difference between the average (mean or median) hourly earnings of all male and all female employees, expressed as a percentage of men's earnings. If an organisation has a pay gap of 15 per cent this means that women's average hourly earnings are 15 per cent less than men's.

    The gender pay gap is not the same as equal pay. Equal pay is about ensuring men and women doing similar work or work that is different but of equal value (in terms of skills, responsibility, effort) are paid the same. A gender pay gap could reflect a failure to provide equal pay but it usually reflects a range of factors, including a concentration of women in lower paid roles and women being less likely to reach senior management levels.

  • Why is a review of the gender pay gap in medicine being conducted?

    Government regulations now require all public and private sector organisations to publish their gender pay gap data. However, this data measures the median hourly rate across an employer's workforce, and does not break down the data for individual staff groups - i.e. for doctors.

    In July 2016 during the junior doctors' contract dispute, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced that he would commission an independent review of the gender pay gap. However, the size of the gender pay gap in medicine has long been highlighted.

    The influential 2009 Deech report, commissioned by the Chief Medical Officer, recommended a programme of action to improve opportunities for women in medicine. Several years later, evidence of a considerable pay gap in medicine indicates that many women continue to face barriers in their careers.

  • The aim and format of the review

    The overall aim of the review is to understand the causes of the gender pay gap in medicine and to make implementable recommendations to narrow it. It covers the whole medical profession including public health doctors and medical academics in England. It is looking at the pay gap across doctors' careers and in different areas of medicine.

    The review is looking at:

    • gendered education and career choices
    • unequal impact of caring responsibilities
    • lack of quality flexible working opportunities
    • underrepresentation of women in leadership positions
    • the culture of medicine

    A steering group is overseeing the review and will produce a final report containing recommendations by end of April 2019. It will be chaired by Prof Jane Dacre, immediate past president of the Royal College of Physicians and a strong advocate for gender equality in medicine.

    Representatives on the steering group include: the BMA, the Medical Women's Federation, DHSC and NHS Employers.

    A research team from the University of Surrey has been appointed to analyse pay and pensions data, and also take evidence from doctors themselves. A largescale survey is going out to approximately 40% of the medical profession, asking doctors views about a variety of working practices and individual decisions that affect pay and medical careers. The BMA has been supporting the development of the survey. We urge doctors who have been invited to participate in the survey by email, to respond. The more doctors who complete the survey the more accurate it will be.

    The survey is now live. Please look out for an email from [email protected]. It is also worth checking your spam email for this invitation. 

  • How is the BMA involved?

    As a key stakeholder, we are influencing the review.

    • Our representatives are having a strong influence on the steering group, which will sign off the final report and make the recommendations coming out of the review;
    • We have established an internal advisory group of doctors which is bringing the perspectives of all branches of practices into the review. This group has inputted ideas and feedback to share the review;
    • We are updating members throughout the review, including publishing a series of blogs, highlighting different aspects of the review.
  • The gender pay gap and the 2018-19 junior doctor contract review

    The BMA is currently in the process of reviewing the 2016 junior doctor contract with NHS Employers and the Department of Health and Social Care. 

    We are also a key stakeholder in the independent review of the gender pay gap in medicine.

    As part of the review of the 2016 contract, we are factoring in the key concerns and ongoing research of the gender pay gap group, such as women being under-represented in senior jobs, unequal impact of parenting responsibilities and part-time work.

    Find out more about the gender pay gap and the junior doctor contract review

  • Further information