Advice for Female Physicians to Negotiate Higher Salaries

Sandra Levy


July 03, 2018

In This Article

Don't Discuss Family

If a prospective employer asks about your spouse's employment status, you should be assertive and state that the position has nothing to do with your spouse.

Rohr-Kirchgraber recalled a salary discussion she had during which an employer asked about her husband. Her response was, "What about my husband has anything to do with my salary negotiations?"

"He was thinking, well your husband is working, so you don't need to make so much. We should be paid what we should be paid even if we have a spouse who is working," Rohr-Kirchgraber said.

During the negotiation stage, don't discuss family responsibilities. Employers tend to think that will affect women's productivity and they may use this against you to offer less money, even though many women may put in extra hours on nights or weekends to make up for having flexible hours during the day.

"If I walk into your office and say, 'My kids are grown, I have no one at home' or I say, 'I am dealing with daycare issues such as we fired our nanny we're looking for new daycare' it conjures up an emotion. As you're negotiating your contract you may want to talk to [human resources] about maternity leave, or if they have daycare on the premises, but sharing about the six kids you have at home and nanny difficulties, that's the kiss of death." Rohr-Kirchgraber said.

How to Get a Pay Hike if You're Already Employed

If you are passed up for a merit increase, and you disagree with your performance evaluation, say so. Keep a detailed record of your accomplishments. Tell your employer in writing what your future salary expectations are.

"If you aren't getting an annual review, ask for one. Come into the meeting with information. You don't want to go into an annual review and not know your productivity scores because you need to defend them," Rohr-Kirchgraber said.

Because bonuses are usually based on productivity, female physicians should reach out to accounts payable and receivables staff and find out how much they billed for the year and how much the practice or hospital received. "Ask so you can get the data. At least on a quarterly basis you should be seeing your productivity," Rohr-Kirchgraber said.

Rohr-Kirchgraber recalled a resident who became a faculty member and was getting credit only for his billing as a resident. "He got about a tenth of what he was billing out. Make sure you are getting credit for the work you are doing," she cautioned.


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