Study Examines Sex Differences in Radiologists' Salaries

Leesburg, VA, November 07, 2017—Female academic radiologists have similar annual salaries as their male colleagues, although only 24% of radiology residents are women and women are underrepresented in journal and departmental leadership positions, according to a study published in the November 2017 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).

The study evaluated salary differences between male and female academic radiologists at U.S. medical schools, using salary data from 12 states and 24 public medical schools during 2011—2013. The research team led by Neena Kapoor of Harvard Medical School examined data for 573 radiologists with information on physician age, sex, faculty rank, years since residency, clinical trial involvement, National Institutes of Health funding, scientific publications, and clinical volume measured by 2013 Medicare payments. Sex difference in salary was estimated using a multilevel logistic regression adjusting for these factors.

“Among academic radiologists employed at 24 U.S. public medical schools, male and female radiologists had similar annual salaries both before and after adjusting for several variables known to influence salary among academic physicians,” the authors stated.

“Our findings reinforce that radiology has achieved a degree of sex equality that is uncommon in medicine. These results, in combination with other recent work on sex equality in radiology, could be used to encourage more women to enter this field,” the authors added.

The study, titled “Sex Differences in Radiologist Salary in U.S. Public Medical Schools,” noted that existing studies outside of radiology suggest that female academic physicians earn lower salaries than male physicians even after adjustment for several clinical and research productivity measures. The study cited a recent large analysis of academic faculty in which female physicians were estimated to earn an average of $20,000 less than their male counterparts even after adjustments.

“Our analysis adds further credence to this growing body of evidence that radiology is one of the few medical specialties that has made important advances in sex equality as it relates to promotion and payment,” the authors said. “Cultural norms and long-standing efforts within radiology to address sex disparities may have been successful.” A national survey of 2025 radiologists in 1995 found that sex differences in several professional and practice characteristics were smaller among younger radiologists compared with older radiologists, suggesting that the career paths of female and male radiologists may be converging over time.

Although only about one-fourth of radiology residents are female, the authors stated, an analysis of 4117 applicants to one residency program between 2008 and 2014 found that, while women averaged 24% of the total applicant pool, they made up 30% of the interview pool and 38% of individuals ranked in the top 25% of applicants. Another recent analysis showed that rates of full professorship are similar between male and female academic radiologists after adjusting for age, training history, and several measures of clinical and research productivity.

Founded in 1900, ARRS is the first and oldest radiology society in the United States, and is an international forum for progress in radiology. The Society's mission is to improve health through a community committed to advancing knowledge and skills in radiology. ARRS achieves its mission through an annual scientific and educational meeting, publication of the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) and InPractice magazine, topical symposia and webinars, and print and online educational materials. ARRS is located in Leesburg, VA.