Newswise — A study published today in Anesthesia & Analgesia® shows that a significant pay gap is associated with gender in the compensation of physician anesthesiologists even after adjusting for potential factors, including age, hours worked, geographic practice region, practice type, position and job selection criteria. Women anesthesiologists are 56% less likely to be paid at the higher end of salary ranges compared to men anesthesiologists. The study was funded by the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

In a subset of the data, in which respondents noted specific salary amounts rather than choosing a range, the compensation gap was found to have a relative percentage difference of almost 9%, which amounts to $32,617 lower compensation annually for women than men.

“Unfortunately, nothing has changed in terms of equalizing compensation for women anesthesiologists,” said Linda B. Hertzberg, M.D., FASA. “This study found that over a 30-year career, the gap could represent almost a million-dollar shortfall for women anesthesiologists. Bias, either explicit or implicit, persists and affects women’s compensation.”

In 2018, ASA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Women in Anesthesia was asked to examine if a gender gap still existed and identify actionable items to lessen the gap in the future. It developed a survey to determine differences in compensation between men and women anesthesiologists and what potential factors contributed to that gap.

In the final survey sample, 2081 surveys were received. Beyond gender as the variable of interest, the following items were included as potentially confounding variables: race, marital and work status, dependent children or adults, U.S. Census region, trained locally, years in practice, weekly hours worked, taking call, practice type, academic rank, completed fellowship, factors considered less important in job selection (i.e., salary, less call or less weekends, flexible scheduling, dependent care, and leadership opportunities), paid family leave, less than 25 days paid time off, no unpaid time off, consulted a mentor, knew a person in the practice, negotiated salary or contract and lawyer review of contract.

The study authors suggest that anesthesiology practices and other organizations implement recommendations in ASA’s Statement on Compensation Equity Among Anesthesiologists, which was adopted in October, 2019. Additionally, the ASA Committee on Systemic Life Imbalances’ has the following recommendations for advancing gender equality and overall physician well-being. ASA plans to repeat the gender compensation survey in 5 years to examine the effects of the recommendations and identify changes that may have occurred in that time period.

THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS

Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 54,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/MadeforThisMoment. Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter.

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