How Health IT Exec Compensation Differs Across Genders, Races

May 10, 2018
Aubrey Westgate

A recent survey has troubling findings regarding health IT executive compensation disparities between genders and races.

There’s a large payment disparity between male and female health IT professionals, and between white and nonwhite professionals.

That’s according to a recent compensation survey put forth by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), which polled 885 U.S. health IT workers who are involved in direct management, development, or support of health IT in a provider organization.

The findings, which were discussed during a recent HIMSS webinar, “State of the Industry: Highlights from HIMSS U.S. Leadership/Workforce and Compensation Surveys,” mirror similar findings across other industries in the United States.

Disturbing findings

The average salary among males in health IT professional roles was $123,244, according to the survey findings. For females it was just $100,447 (about 18% less).

Nationwide across all industries, females earn an average of 80.5 cents for every dollar men earn, or about 19% less, according to data from the US Census Bureau

Among whites (both genders) in health IT, the average salary was $113,000, according to the HIMSS survey findings. For nonwhites (both genders), it was just $100,000.

Again, this mirrors a disparity across all industries in the United States. Black and Hispanic women in the United States are most affected by the wage gap, especially when compared to white men. Black women earn 63% of what white men earn, and Hispanic women earn 54%, according to Business Insider.

“In both areas [gender and race], there is a discrepancy in pay between these two population groups,” said Lorren Pettit, MS, MBA, vice president, HIS and Market Research, HIMSS North America.

Pettit also referred to the “double jeopardy” phenomenon, pertaining to nonwhite females in health IT. Among white males, the average salary was $128,202, for nonwhite males it was $109,000, for white females it was $102,830, and among nonwhite females it was $91,340, according to the survey findings. 

Career advancement widens gap

Pettit noted that the gender compensation disparity among health IT executives widens as individuals progress in their careers.   

Female survey takers who reached the executive level reported making 78% less than male executives, said Pettit, noting that, as females advance, they are much more likely to experience an “egregious disparity” compared to those at the same level.

Again, this mirrors broader trends across all occupations in the United States. While women at an individual contributor level only earn 2.2% less than men in similar roles, the gap widens for managers/supervisors, directors, and executives, according to PayScale data.

One reason could be that women tend to initiate compensation negotiations less often (four times less often), according to the book “Women Don’t Ask,” which was mentioned in a Harvard Business Review article that explored the wage gap. When women do negotiate, they tend to ask for less money.

To comment on the wage gaps in health IT and healthcare in general, please e-mail Aubrey.Westgate@ubm.com.

 

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