Gender pay gap between top NHS doctors has been revealed

Posted by
Susan Devaney

Top female doctors are earning a lot less than their male counterparts, a new investigation has revealed. 

As of late many companies – from the BBC and Tesco to Uber - have been found to be part of the gender pay gap problem, actively paying their female staff less than their male counterparts.

And now, an investigation has found that a gender pay disparity exists between top doctors working for the NHS. Out of the top 100 earning senior consultants in England, only five are women – with the top-paid male consultant earning nearly £740,000, a difference of two and a half times more than the top female.

Despite more than a third of the workforce being female, on average full-time female consultants earn nearly £14,000 a year less than men, resulting in a pay gap of 12%.

The report found that the huge disparity was probably due to men being able to accept overtime. However, an unfair system of bonuses and awards were found to be weighted in favour of men.

Last year, figures published by the Office for National Statistics showed that across all professions, the gender pay gap for full-time employees stands at 9.1% in favour of men.

“With women making up the majority of medical graduates in recent years, it’s vitally important that we address the root causes of the gender pay gap, and develop a wider programme of work to eliminate it across the medical workforce,” says Dr. Anthea Mowat, of the British Medical Association, stressing that women need more support, leadership training, flexible working opportunities and mentoring.

“This appears to be a long-term and serious problem within the medical workforce which the government, the profession and employers are committed to resolving,” says Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers.

Under the Equal Pay Act of 1970, it is illegal in the UK to pay someone less based on their gender. In April 2017, the government launched a new scheme designed to tackle the gender pay gap. From April 2018, all voluntary, private and public sector employers with 250 or more employees will be required by law to publish their company’s overall gender pay gap on a new government website.

At the end of last year, Anne Milton, Minister for Women, told “Despite the Equal Pay Act being passed nearly 50 years ago, too many women are still held back in their careers. During that time the gender pay gap has reduced, but it has not reduced enough.”

“The pay gap won’t close on its own – we all need to take action to make sure we address this. That is why we have introduced a legal requirement for all large employers to publish their gender pay and bonus data by April 2018,” Milton continued.

“I’m pleased that some of our top companies are leading the way and have already reported. By shining a light on where there are gaps, they can take action to address them‎. There are no excuses: employers now need to get on with the job of publishing their pay gap and pledge to improve workplace equality.”

The Fawcett Society, a leading charity for women’s rights, found that it will take a century to close the current gender pay gap across the UK.

Images: Piron Guillaume