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GPs face a 35% gender pay gap with the GP partnership model in part being to blame, finds a new study.
The gender pay gap among GPs is as high as 35%, according to a study by the IPPR think tank.
Although the size of GP practices means they do not systematically report on pay inequality, the IPPR has used the latest workforce and earnings data to provide what it says is a comprehensive estimate of the general practice pay gap in England. This analysis shows that men working as GPs earn, on average, an estimated £110,000 per year. By contrast, a female GP earns, on average, an estimated £70,000 per year.
That means the pay gap between men and women is more than twice the average UK pay gap and the fifth largest out of all the professions, according to the Office for National Statistics. The IPPR says it is the equivalent of women GPs earning nothing between the August bank holiday and Christmas.
Even when controlling for part-time work, the gap is 17 per cent – significantly higher than the average in the wider economy.
The IPPR says there is no age or contract type for GPs where a man is not paid more than a woman counterpart. Some of this is due to unconscious bias, less tailored support and career barriers for women, issues that affect other professions, but the IPPR says it has identified several factors which are important for the GP pay gap. Firstly, women are more likely to work part time than men.
Women GPs are also younger, on average. Around 35 per cent of women in the GP workforce are under the age of 40, compared to just 22 per cent of men. The IPPR says this only has a slight impact on pay as GPs are highly skilled and pay progression not substantial, particularly in partnership roles where pay is on an equity basis.
A third factor is the GP partnership model. The IPPR says just under 50 per cent of women are partner GPs, compared to almost 80 per cent of men. Partners own the business and make profit. They make the strategic decisions, they hire other (salaried) doctors and ensure the business is efficient. For this, they are paid significantly more: around £110,000 to £60,000 in a salaried role.
The IPPR is calling for a review of what more can be done to provide a fairer deal for women GPs and for patients.
It says: “Providing fair working conditions will be critical to ensuring the right staffing in the future – particularly as woman now make up the majority of the workforce. If general practice accepts a pay gap higher than the wider economy and the wider NHS, it will struggle to provide an attractive workforce, particularly in competition with other medical specialties.
“The onus is on a new government, who committed to providing 6,000 more GPs by 2025, to identify the causes of inequality and urgently mitigate them as they look to deliver on their manifesto pledges.”