Modern Healthcare’s recent analysis of the 25 highest-paid not-for-profit health system executives captures the reality of C-Suite compensation. All top 25 earners were men. The first woman doesn’t show up until No. 33. When we expanded the list, only two women were among the top 50 earners in not-for-profit health systems in fiscal 2017, the latest available data.
This is the disheartening reality that women healthcare executives face, and it is especially relevant considering Modern Healthcare will honor its Top 25 Women Leaders this week at the annual Women Leaders in Healthcare Conference in Chicago.
The gender-based compensation gap is pervasive throughout healthcare. Pay disparities are present in medicine, with a male physician making $1.25 for every $1 made by a female physician, according to a physician compensation study from Doximity.
The question is why—and to what extent has the industry failed to advance gender diversity in the C-suite? Women lead and have led many of the nation’s top health systems, academic medical centers, hospitals and healthcare associations. And yet, according to a 2019 report from Oliver Wyman, only 33% of senior executives and 13% of CEOs in healthcare organizations are women.
There are several reasons for these startling figures. Many healthcare organizations still lack programs designed to promote women’s advancement.
Moreover, diversity is no assurance of executive financial gain. Forty-seven percent of women healthcare executives say their organization fails to link its diversity and inclusion goals to compensation, according to results from Modern Healthcare’s 2019 Women Leaders in Healthcare survey.