Gender Equality in the Health Care Industry
June 13, 2019
Gender equality is becoming one of the most important objectives and talking points in any industry. Serious questions are being raised about role diversity, wage equality, and more. The healthcare industry is no different. With the massive demand over the next decade for qualified professionals, more individuals are interested in pursuing a career in the health care industry and want a better understanding of where the industry stands when it comes to opportunity and gender equality.
We at HospitalCareers believe in providing job seekers and healthcare professionals with the tools they need to make informed career choices, learn more about their future healthcare career, and understand where opportunities to improve the industry might be. We’ve gathered some of the most comprehensive reports and resources to create an industry report and infographic on gender equality in the healthcare industry. The infographic below highlights all of the important information that we cover below as well, so feel free to share it with a link to this report where users can find more information about the individual sections.
Health Care Industry Gender Composition
One of the biggest things that separate and differentiates the health care industry from other industries is the gender composition of the workers. The healthcare industry is comprised of roughly 76% female professionals, and 24% male professionals. This is one of the most lopsided gender compositions in any working industry, as few industries see such a lopsided composition of one gender being significantly larger than the other in the workplace.
Just for comparison’s sake, other industries on average a near 50:50 split when it comes to a male to female composition ratio. The average gender composition across other industries is 53% male workers to 47% female workers.
Organizational Ladder by Gender
The next part of this comprehensive gender equality report in the healthcare industry relates to how organizations are structured and their decision ladders by gender composition. Increasingly, across every single sector in the workforce there has been a massive push to ensure there is more gender diversity in the decision-making process. Unfortunately, This is one of the most lopsided reports and charts we have to showcase in this report because the numbers and gender diversity are so wide-spread across the metrics for organization ladder composition.
Diversity is important in every role because it means that people are approaching problems from different backgrounds, and can offer and provide solutions from different perspectives. Gender diversity in any industry is important, especially when it comes to decision-makers.
The health care industry, as we’ve stated earlier, is largely comprised of female professionals. Logic would dictate that females would make up a majority of the leadership positions in the industry, and that’s what we’re seeing today. Women make up the largest portions of decision makers and positions in the organizational ladder, except for the C-Suite and Executive roles where men outpace women and hold a stronger position.
As the healthcare industry continually expands to meet upcoming demand, health care professionals who have prior experience are increasingly put in new scenarios which offer them plenty of opportunities to advance the organizational ladder. It’s possible that gender diversity in the organizational ladder across the industry is a reflection of the gender composition across the industry.
One question that potential job seekers might be asking themselves when considering a potential career in the health care industry is whether or not that there are potential opportunities to advance throughout their career, and the healthcare industry indicates that there are ample opportunities for leadership positions for both genders at the highest levels.
According to Advisory, the healthcare industry organizational ladder roughly consists of the following:
- Executives : 43% Female, 57% Male
- Directors : 65% Female, 35% Male
- Frontline Leaders : 76% Female, 23% Male
- Frontline Staff : 83% Female, 17% Male
Fortune 500 and Health Care CEO Gender Composition
The Fortune 500 is list put together by Fortune to rank the top companies and executives internationally. According to Fortune, in the US alone the Fortune 500 companies make up roughly two-thirds of US GDP. To get a better understanding of where the healthcare industry might be heading in terms of gender-based opportunities, diversity trends, and equality — looking at the Fortune 500 is a good indication and comparing those companies to the healthcare industry.
Currently, there are 40 companies in the Fortune 500. The Fortune 500 as a whole, is outpacing the healthcare industry significantly when it comes to gender equality in CEO roles. Both the Fortune 500 and the healthcare industry as a whole still have a lot of work to do when it comes to gender equality in leadership positions, but the Fortune 500 is still clearly ahead for the time-being in accomplishing leadership gender equality.
Of the health care companies in the Fortune 500, only one healthcare organization has a female CEO, the other 39 are male. The Fortune 500 in its entirety has more female CEO representation, as there are a total of 25 female CEOs compared to 475 male CEOs.
As we’ve covered in a previous section of this comprehensive report, the healthcare industry is largely dominated by male CEOs. We took the time to review Glassdoor CEO approval ratings of the Fortune 500 to evaluate where the averages are for each gender. Unfortunately, this stat is slightly skewed because of the Fortune 500 only having one female CEO, therefore the average is just one number in the data set.
The average approval rating for male CEOs in the Fortune 500 for the health care industry is roughly 73% compared to the 80% approval rating for the female CEO.
Geographic Career Barriers In The Health care Industry
RockHealth recently conducted a study where they asked hundreds of healthcare professionals several important questions about the state of the healthcare industry and what challenges women might face in the healthcare industry.
One question that really stood out from the study was what role geographic location might play as a potential career barrier. The alarming thing is that both the south and southwest felt their geographic location plays a significant role in their career progression. 36% of southwest survey respondents felt that geography acted as a barrier in their career advancement, followed by the south respondents at 31%, and then 23% and 18% for the midwest and northeast respondents respectively.
How respondents of the RockHealth survey answered is below:
- Southwest : 36%
- South : 31%
- Midwest : 23%
- Northeast : 18%
Workplace Gender Parity In The Health care Industry
Another alarming finding from another fantastic RockHealth survey found that a majority of women believe that it will take a substantial amount of time before the healthcare industry has gender parity in the workplace. The second largest response from the survey respondents stated that they felt it would take 10 years, and then 16% responded that they felt it would never happen.
It’s quite alarming that such a sizable portion believe that gender parity and equality might never happen in the healthcare industry.
How respondents of the RockHealth survey answered is below:
- It Already Happened : 2.6%
- 5 Years : 5.7%
- 10 Years : 27.8%
- 25 Years : 33.0%
- 50 Years : 12.4%
- It Will Never Happen : 16%
Salary and Pay Gap In The Health care Industry
Across the board, men and women who work in the healthcare industry earn significantly more than those who work in other industries. Overall, this trend is highlighted in nearly every career stage as well: entry-level, mid-level, and senior-level roles. Although men and women in the healthcare industry do tend to earn more than their peers in separate industries, the salary gap between them is still much larger — which would indicate that there is still room to go in closing the salary disparity.
In nearly every role in the health care industry, men on average earn a significant amount of money more than their female co-workers. Males tend to earn an average of $89,276 in the healthcare industry, while females tend to earn an average of $55,602. This represents a difference of $33,674 and a 37.72% disparity between the genders.
When compared to other industries, the salary difference between genders is much closer but isn’t perfect. Like the healthcare industry, there is still a sizable salary gap, but the gap isn’t as wide. In other industries, males tend to earn an average of $62,315, while females tend to earn an average of $43,325. This represents a difference of $19,990 and a 28.32% disparity. This means that there is a $13,684 gap between the health care industry and the average of other industries, but there is room to be made up for all industries in closing the wage gender wage gap.
As we’ve covered earlier, the health care industry is largely occupied by females but there are a few standout roles where men occupy a majority of the positions. Some of the standout roles where men occupy more roles than women include Physicians, Dentists, Chiropractors, and Database Administrators.
- Physician: 323,295 Females & 554,214 Males
- Dentist: 46,840 Females & 94,046 Males
- Nurse Anesthetist: 19,428 Females & 13,027 Males
- Podiatrist: 4,074 Females & 1,719 Males
- Optometrist: 17,683 Females & 14,247 Males
- Pharmacist: 177,561 Females & 127,878 Males
- Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: 6,750,000 Females & 2,170,000 Males
- Nurse Practitioner: 142,324 Females & 16,739 Males
- Medical Scientist: 74,221 Females & 64,335 Males
- Physician Assistant: 69,571 Females & 35,256 Males
- Health Service Managers: 474,756 Females & 190,675 Males
- Human Resource Managers: 258,291 Females & 163,379 Males
- Chiropractor: 11,594 Females & 30,848 Males
- Database Administrators: 45,640 Females & 67,705 Males
- Registered Nurses: 2,860,000 Females & 357,000 Males
Another indication of gender equality in the health care industry is often related to the level of education that workers possess. Unfortunately, tracking the level of education diversity in the healthcare industry is difficult, but thanks to the census by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we do have the education levels and education obtainment estimates for the United State population. This infographic and report was done in thousands, so 35,094 would mean 35,094,000 as an example. In the table below, we made it slightly easier and translated it to millions so you wouldn’t have to do any extra math.
The census bureau broke down the levels of education into the following sub-sections: high school graduates, some college/no degree, associate’s degree / occupational degree, associate’s degree / academic degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, professional degree, and doctoral degrees.
Women across the country are pursuing and obtaining education more than men in nearly every education level or graduation sub-section except for high school graduation, professional degrees, or doctoral degrees. This means that women are outpacing men when it comes to six out of nine education obtainment levels.
Education levels and obtainment numbers are important because one of the best ways to close inequality at any level is to seek and obtain more education. More education presents more professional opportunities. More professional opportunities mean an increased wage opportunity. More wage opportunities mean that both genders have a greater chance of closing the wage gap significantly in the future.
The educational obtainment below is how both genders stacked up:
- High School Graduate: 35,094,000 Females & 36,274,000 Males
- Some College, No Degree: 24,079,000 Females & 22,096,000 Males
- Associate’s Degree / Occupation Degree: 5,511,000 Females & 4,830,000 Males
- Associate’s Degree / Academic Degree: 8,102,000 Females & 5,659,000 Males
- Bachelor’s Degree: 27,027,000 Females & 24,379,000 Males
- Master’s Degree: 11,987,000 Females & 9,294,000 Males
- Professional Degree: 1,401,000 Females & 1,801,000 Males
- Doctoral Degree: 1,872,000 Females & 2,614,000 Males