Female Endocrinologists Paid Less, Also Less Satisfied Than Males

April 22, 2015

Endocrinologists remain among the lowest-paid physicians in the United States — third from the bottom, ahead of only family practitioners and pediatricians — and more than half are not satisfied with their incomes, according to the latest Medscape compensation survey.

There is also a clear gender divide, with women earning less than men and being less satisfied with their pay; they also cite different aspects of the job as being most rewarding.

But if they had to do it all over again, 63% of endocrinologists said they would still chose medicine as a career, and 45% would opt for the specialty of endocrinology once more, according to the Endocrinologist 2015 Compensation Report, part of the overall Physician 2015 Compensation Report, which is the fifth consecutive annual Medscape survey on this topic.

Endocrinologists tie with internists on an income of $196,000 per annum, ahead of family physicians at $195,000 and pediatricians, who receive $189,000.

The top earners are orthopedists ($421,000), cardiologists ($376,000), and gastroenterologists ($370,000).

Almost 20% of Women Endocrinologists Work Part-Time

Endocrinologists reported an increase of 7% in pay (2014 vs 2013). The greatest increases went to infectious-disease physicians (22%), followed by physicians who mostly work in hospitals: pulmonologists (15%) and emergency-medicine physicians and pathologists (both at 12%). Only rheumatologists experienced any large decrease in income (4%).

Endocrinologists in office-based single-specialty group practices make the most ($222,000), followed by those in outpatient clinics ($208,000). Those who earn the least money are in hospitals ($162,000) and academic or government settings ($186,000).

When these practice settings are compared with the previous year's report, endocrinologists who earned the most last year were also in single-specialty groups ($207,000), while endocrinologists in outpatient clinics earned the least ($154,000).

And this year, as in all previous years of the report, male endocrinologists are earning more than their female counterparts, and male self-employed endocrinologists earn more, on average, than employed ones ($235,000 vs $206,000). But for women endocrinologists, there is hardly any difference in income between those who are self-employed and those who are employed ($169,000 vs $168,000).

"Women tend to work shorter hours and fewer weeks than men, which may help account for the lower female compensation reported among endocrinologists," the report notes, revealing that 18% of female endocrinologists and 7% of male endocrinologists work part-time.

But only 38% of female endocrinologists are satisfied with their income, which is lower than the 45% rate reported by their male counterparts.

Women also differ from men when describing what they find most rewarding about their jobs. Among endocrinologists, 42% of men and 36% of women believe that relationships with patients are a major source of satisfaction.

But more women (43%) than men (29%) cited being very good at their job as a reward, while more male (16%) than female (10%) endocrinologists named making the world a better place.

And as would be expected, compensation differs by region. This year, the highest earnings for endocrinologists were reported in the Northeast ($212,000) and Southeast ($207,000), while the lowest were in the Northwest ($162,000) and South Central region ($165,000).

How Endocrinologists Handle Patients, Spend Their Time

In terms of how they divide their time, 64% of endocrinologists spend 30 to 45 hours per week seeing patients. About a quarter (24%) spend more than that. And most endocrinologists spend 10 to 14 hours a week on paperwork.

Regarding time given per patient, just under a third (31%) of endocrinologists spend 16 minutes or less with each patient while 68% spend more than that.

And 89% of endocrinologists say they discuss the cost of treatment with patients, with nearly half (48%) saying they do this "regularly."

A majority (84% of employed and 56% of self-employed endocrinologists) said they will continue taking new and current Medicare or Medicaid patients, which is up from their responses last year, when 73% of employed and 52% of self-employed endocrinologists said they would take such patients.

Meanwhile, 17% of employed and 16% of self-employed endocrinologists indicate they have offered new ancillary services within the past 3 years. Ancillary services in endocrinology practices can include laboratory and diagnostic services, weight management, and podiatry services for large clinics.

More than 19,500 physicians in 26 specialties responded to this year's Medscape survey, reporting their compensation, number of hours worked, and career satisfaction. Fieldwork was conducted by Medscape from December 30, 2014, through March 11, 2015.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.