According to a recent study by Yale professors Keith Chen and Judith Chevalier (as reported in a Yale SOM news report), women may be making the wrong career move if they pursue careers as doctors simply for the financial rewards. The study shows that becoming a physician assistant (PA) may be the more financially wise decision for a woman. For a man the opposite is the case.
It’s hard to believe, but in the twenty-first century, there is still a wage gap; male doctors make more than female doctors make on an hourly basis. But that’s not the only reason, or even the primary reason, why it doesn’t pay for women to become doctors.
By calculating the net present value (NPV) of the revenue made by male and female doctors and physician assistants, Chen and Chevalier learned that women doctors are simply not working as many hours as their male coworkers, making it much harder to pay off their training expenses.
Between the ages of 31 and 35, the average male doctor works 50 hours per week while the average female doctor works only 40.
The NPV for the median male PA is $1.9 million. For a male doctor it’s $2.3 million. The NPV for the median female PA is $1.68 million, and for a doctor $1.67 million.