March is Women's History Month and while women have been making significant progress in the healthcare industry, securing executive level positions and receiving the same salary as men do in the same position are some of the challenges they continue to endure.
Within the healthcare industry, the healthcare IT field seems to have a significant gender gap.
A recent survey conducted by healthcare IT consultancy Greythorn shows male and female respondents in the healthcare IT field had the same median income ($80,000 - $89,000). However, five men for every one woman made $160,000 or more.
Women were also overrepresented in the lowest income bracket of $50,000 or less in which there were three women for every man.
Some findings were promising such as equal likelihood for both genders to receive bonuses between 6% and 10% of their salary. However, most women reported a bonus between 16% and 20%, while most men reported bonuses between 21% and 40%, according to the survey.
Other notable findings from the Greythorn survey include:
11% of respondents were seeking more challenging or interesting work, up from only 3% last year; and
Remote work was considered a higher priority than a 401k match, a relocation bonus, and training/certification opportunities.
One woman's experience with starting a health IT business
Canterbury Healthcare CEO Liz Griggs says women still face challenges when it comes to raising institutional capital. She launched two different multi-million dollar companies in the healthcare industry including One Call Medical, which was founded 1993. The second company was called Workwell Prevention and Care aimed at getting people back to work after they’ve been injured and preventing injuries on site.
She notes in order to establish a large company in the healthcare industry, you have to have “big money” behind you.
“Once I built it (One Call Medical) from nothing to $140 million in revenue, TA (TA Associates) then sold it to another private equity firm, and then they sold it, and now the revenues are over $2 billion,” Griggs told Healthcare Dive, adding, “You have to be confident, have the conviction that what you're bringing to the market is compelling."
“I pull people that I know and like, that I know are good doers, having a good CFO, know your strengths and weaknesses,” she added.
The disparity is real
A Glassdoor report from earlier this month suggests the gender pay gap varies by industry and in the U.S. it is the largest in healthcare, in which men earn about 7% more than women.
Tina Esposito, vice-president of the Center for Health Information at Illinois-based Advocate Health Care, believes gender biases can be subtle in a workplace and that sometimes people do not even realize that their actions or decisions are being influenced by their biases.
There are relatively few women in the healthcare IT field and Esposito said that is because there seems to be a difference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education for young men and women. And although this may be slowly changing, she also said there are a few things women could keep in mind in the meantime.
“You really can’t let it define you,” Esposito told Healthcare Dive. “You’ve got to sort of own what you want to do, who you want to be in the long term, what you are aspiring to, and just work like heck.”