Work Activities and Compensation of Male and Female Cardiologists

Study Questions:

Are there gender differences in work activities and pay among cardiologists?


Data were reported by practice administrators to MedAxiom, a subscription-based service provider to cardiology practices, regarding cardiologists from 161 U.S. practices in 2013. Data included personal characteristics as well as job and practice characteristics from a national sample of practicing cardiologists. Peters-Belson technique and multivariate regression analysis were applied to evaluate whether gender differences in compensation existed after accounting for differences in other measured characteristics.


A total of 2,679 subjects (229 females and 2,450 males) were included in this sample. Women were more likely to have specialized in general/noninvasive cardiology (53.1% vs. 28.2%); a lower proportion (11.4% vs. 39.3%) reported an interventional subspecialty compared to men. Numerous job characteristics differed by gender, including the proportion working full-time (79.9% of women vs. 90.9% of men, p < 0.001), number of half-days worked (mean 387 for women vs. 406 for men, p = 0.001), and work relative value units generated (mean 7,404 for women vs. 9,497 for men, p < 0.001). Peters-Belson analysis revealed that based on measured job and productivity characteristics, the women in this sample would have been expected to have a mean salary that was $31,749 (95% confidence interval, $16,303-$48,028) higher than that actually observed. Multivariate analysis confirmed the direction and magnitude of the independent association between gender and salary.


The investigators concluded that men and women practicing cardiology in this national sample had different job activities and salaries. A substantial salary difference existed even after adjusting for detailed measures of personal, job, and practice characteristics.


These data may have underestimated the true differences; given that other studies have observed that women under-report the amount of work they perform. Given this, these current data are only the tip of the iceberg. Without women in leadership positions, significant gender gaps in cardiology will continue to exist.

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