How female job seekers can advocate for themselves during salary negotiations

Published on: Jun 27, 2019


Modern Healthcare recently reported that male physicians earn approximately $1.25 for every $1 earned by female doctors. Female healthcare providers earn less than their male counterparts in every specialty, though the wage gap is greatest in the following:

  • Urology

    • Men: $433,000

    • Women:$339,000

    • Difference: -$94,000

  • Radiology

    • Men:$442,000

    • Women: $349,000

    • Difference: -$93,000

  • Otolaryngology

    • Men: $412,000

    • Women: $321,000

    • Difference: -$91,000

  • Pediatric pulmonology

    • Men: $253,000

    • Women: $195,000

    • Difference: -$58,000

  • Pediatrics

    • Men: $250,000

    • Women: $199,000

    • Difference: -$51,000

These statistics make it clear that female professionals need to be proactive in arming themselves with industry data before heading into the salary negotiation stage of a job offer. However, The Balance reported that 68% of women do not negotiate pay, compared with 52% of men.

Consider these tips for your next salary negotiation:

Do your research

Before you can negotiate effectively, you need data to back up your position. Websites like Glassdoor and can provide context on how your colleagues are compensated. However, these are general averages and should be taken with a grain of salt. A more effective way to get detailed information for positions in your region is to reach out to your professional network. Contact people you went to school with to learn how much they're earning. If possible, contact a mix of men and women to discover if gender is playing a role.

Research salary ranges for your specialty and region.Research salary ranges for your specialty and region.

Change your expectations

Research from the Harvard School of Business found a correlation between expectations and salary inequality. The researchers found that men had higher expectations for negotiation outcomes. They expected to earn more and they expected their employers to meet their demands. Female negotiators, on the other hand, held lower expectations and were met with lower compensation as a result. When the researchers calibrated for expectation, the gender gap disappeared. In short, your expectations matter - so don't hesitate to set your sights higher.

Avoid common negotiation mistakes

Salary negotiations can be nerve wracking, but remember, if you've made it to this stage of the hiring process, the employer is probably ready to hire you. You just have to settle on the details. Remember to avoid sensitive topics such as the specific amount you earned at your last place of employment. If the employer offers you a low figure, remind them about your skills and experience and counter with a higher range. If the offer is still too low, you may have to decline it altogether.

Now that you know more about how to negotiate salaries, it's time to put your skills to work. Sign up for free job alerts from to learn about the many opportunities awaiting you. Male physicians earn approximately $1.25 for every $1 earned by female doctors.