Buckle up to unpack the PA Gender Wage Gap. We are going to see how much female PAs are earning as compared to their male PA colleagues who have the same experience and it’s going to make you see red. It’s going to make you want to kick this PA Gender Wage Gap into next week and march into your administrators office and demand a raise.
I do not recommend this approach, but I do recommend downloading this guide to help you avoid the most common mistakes PAs make when asking for a raise!
The PA Gender Wage Gap
I recently discovered that in 2018 the American Academy Of Physician Assistants (AAPA – now called the American Academy of Physician Associates) discovered in their annual PA Salary Survey that female PAs are earning significantly less per hour than their male colleagues.
A note: if you are not yet a member of the AAPA or your state Physician Associate organization, go and sign up. Typically your work will cover these memberships as a part of your CME reimbursement or separately. It helps legally with lobbying and to advocate for our profession! You can join me in the AAPA here and access the most recent salary data right here. Trust me – you will reap the benefits in the CME, member central and mentorship portions of the AAPA alone.
Ok, back to the AAPA Salary Survey from 2018. When they compared female salaries to male salaries of practicing Physician Associates and adjusted for factors such as specialty, location and years of experience, here’s what they found: on average for every $1 that our male colleagues are making female Physician Associates are earning only 90 cents.
The PA Gender Wage Gap is Costing You
Now that might not sound like a whole lot of money. You might be thinking “It’s just a dime, Tracy. What difference does a dime make?” Let me tell you what difference a dime an hour makes over the course of a year and career. Over the course of the year that dime turns into $11,500 a year.
Yep, the mean male PA salary is $11,500 more than the mean female PA salary. That’s almost $12,000! Tell me you wouldn’t cash a $12,000 check that your employer mailed to your home.
It’s ridiculous that identifying sex or sex that you are assigned at birth, not your skills or abilities, is making such a profound impact on your income. These are two PAs who are providing the same service with the same excellence and the same years of experience.
Let’s look at these numbers broken down over the course of your career. What about that $11,500 invested over the course of a career? I’m so glad you asked!
It turns out that $11,500 invested in a good index fund that mirrors the market over the course of a 30 year career turns out to be 4.5 Million dollars. Think about that.
The male Physician Associate sitting next to you charting in the ER has the potential to invest the difference between your salary and his and have that money turn into nearly $5 Million… not because he’s a superior provider or has more seniority in the organization… but simply because of his reproductive anatomy!
No Negotiation Skills as PAs
As Physician Associates we’re not really getting paid for our expertise as a PA. We’re getting paid based on our ability to negotiate and we didn’t learn about that in PA school.
I’m here to teach you about negotiation so that you can be paid for the value you add to your organization, the incredible care you take of your patients and because I want you to have the ability to save and invest that money to have an extra $5 Million at the end of your career!
It makes me mad that we didn’t learn about how to negotiate in PA school. It makes you want to go to the national conference and state conferences and regional conferences and tell all the PAs: “Listen! You’ve got to know this stuff!”
Yes, it’s important to know how to run a code. And to know how to respond to a rapid response and appropriately ressucistate someone. It’s important to be able to intubate someone to protect their airway.
Let me tell you how crucial it is to be able to scope a catheter into someone’s bladder at 2am when they have 3 liters of retained urine in there. It’s important to be able to scrub a surgery. These clinical skill are key to our success as Physician Associates.
But it’s also important to get paid what you are worth and to advocate to get paid what you are worth and to know how to be paid based on your skill and your knowledge and your experience and your abilities and not because of the sex that you were assigned at birth.
Want to learn more? Head here and download this guide to see the 5 Most Common Mistakes PAs Make When Negotiating!
A Rising Tide Closes the Wage Gap
Floats all boats. You asking for (and landing) a great raise as a Physician Associate is going to help me, your female PA colleagues and that female PA student you precept’d last week. If you are intimidated by that conversation, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you a pep talk!