Gender gap continues: Women health care execs earn 19 percent less than their male counterparts

Women health care executives earned $84,900 on average in 2000 while their male counterparts earned $104,300, according to the most recent survey conducted by the American College of Healthcare Executives. That is a $19,400 difference — 19 percent less overall. So says “A Comparison of Career Attainments of Men and Women Healthcare Executives: Findings of a National Survey of Healthcare Executives,” the third report in a series that began in 1990, and is fielded every five years. There was no gain since 1990; in fact, there was a slight regression. Level of education and experience being equal, women earned 18 and 17 percent less, in 1990 and 1995 respectively, than men did.

The study's objective was to compare the attainments of men and women who had chosen managerial careers in general business and contrast findings with health care managers. In all, 1,601 members received the study; 906 responded, for a 57 percent overall response rate.

Among respondents, 25 percent of the men were CEOs, compared to 11 percent of the women. A higher proportion of men, 62 percent, were in general management positions compared to 46 percent of women. Women were more involved than men in specialized management areas including nursing services (10 percent vs. 0 percent), planning, marketing, and quality assurance (17 percent vs. 11 percent) and the continuum of care — ambulatory, home, and long-term care (7 percent vs. 4 percent).

The median salary for male and female business executives in general was higher than for their health care executive counterparts: Men in business earned on average $140,000, while women earned $105,600. However, the salary gap between men and women health care executives was less than in business (19 percent vs. 25 percent). While women have made some inroads into upper management positions, from a salary standpoint there is still inequity between the sexes.

Health care executive median salary by position ($1,000s)

Numbers at base of bars represent the number of respondents in that category.