Survey: Female, Minority Health IT Professionals Face Notable Pay Disparities

March 14, 2018
On average, both female and minority health IT professionals are paid less than their respective peers, according to a recent compensation survey.

On average, both female and minority health IT professionals are paid less than their respective peers, according to a recent compensation survey.

Female health IT professionals on average make 18 percent less than their male peers, according to the 2018 HIMSS U.S. Compensation Survey. The survey found that non-white health IT professionals on average make 12 percent less than their white counterparts.

With the average salary of females standing at $110,447 and the average salary for male health IT professionals standing at $123,244, the female professionals in the health IT industry are paid 82 cents for every dollar their male peer is paid.

The 2018 HIMSS U.S. Compensation Survey, which provides a profile of salary and compensation experiences of U.S. health information and technology professionals representing an array of organizations and roles, found that gender pay disparity has persistently existed across a 12-year period (2006-2018). The current gender pay gap is back at its 2006 level after a period in which the gap appears to have widened, the HIMSS report states.

The 2018 HIMSS U.S. Compensation Survey is based on the feedback from 885 U.S. health information and technology professionals.

What’s more, older females experience greater pay disparities than their younger colleagues in the health IT field. By age 55, it appears that the average male health IT professional makes, on average, $150,000 while a female health IT professional who is the same age makes, on average, $119,000.

The gender pay gap for female executives (78 percent) is wider than the gap experienced by females occupying (non-executive) managerial (90 percent) and non-managerial (95 percent) roles. And that gap appears to be worsening, as over the past 12-years, the female executive’s pay gap has widened.  Back in 2011, the pay gap for female executives stood at about the same as non-executive, managerial and non-managerial roles, at around 90 percent.

Females in clinical management roles experience the most egregious gender pay disparities. Representing roughly 12 percent of all respondents, the clinical manager role (e.g. CMO, Medical Director, Chief of Staff; CNO, VP/Director of Nursing; Manager of Nursing; etc.) presents as area where gender pay differences (59 percent) are the most pronounced.

Also, female health IT professionals working in the South and West tend to experience greater pay disparities than females working in other areas of the country.

This year’s study also offers an analysis of compensation data by race. The survey found that non-white health IT professionals on average make 12 percent less than their white counterparts. With 78 percent of respondents self-identifying as “white”, respondents from all other races were group together as “non-whites”. The average salary of white respondents ($112,926) was 12 percent higher than the average salary of non-white respondents ($99,069).

And, the racial pay gap widens with the increased age of the respondents. Another troubling trend identified in the survey report is that “double jeopardy” exists in the health information and technology workforce. “Being female and non-white (double jeopardy), present as a challenge to equitable pay as non-white females have the lowest average salaries of the four gender-racial groups considered,” the report states.

Non-white health IT professionals in Executive Management positions on average make 29 percent less than their white peers, while no-white health IT professionals in non-Executive Management positions appear to make 12 percent more than their white colleagues. However, hospital settings present as the most favorable work settings for non-white digital health professionals. The pay gap for non-white digital health professionals was the least in hospital settings (8 percent).

Overall, the average salary of health IT professionals has continued to increase in the past 12 years—albeit at a slower pace than about a decade ago.

Health IT professionals are generally satisfied with their compensation and largely attribute career promotions to merit-based factors. The average salary of digital health professionals in this year’s study—$109,610—is in line with the average salaries obtained in previous HIMSS Compensation studies.

Findings suggest employers are more restrictive in awarding bonuses than salary increases, as respondents were more apt to receive a salary increase than a bonus.

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