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The new year is well underway, and headlines from 2017 continue to highlight the wage gap between men and women – an issue that women in health IT are all too familiar with.
A study conducted by HIMSS in 2016 found that the pay gap in health IT is indeed real. A longitudinal look at compensation data between 2006 and 2015 found that women have consistently been paid less than their male peers and that the wage gap has in fact widened. While the gap may have narrowed since the study was conducted, headlines continue to highlight the fact that such a gap does indeed still exist.
Perhaps, what’s even more troublesome, are findings from a fairly new Ellevest study, which found that only 39 percent of men surveyed believe a gender-based wage gap exists. Reconciling HIMSS’s findings with perceptions like these is just another cog in the wage gap wheel that women in health IT are attempting to slow down.
I believe the coming year will be one of heightened wage gap advocacy and action. As we continue to hear stories about women in other industries quitting their jobs in protest over pay inequality, I can’t help but hope that health IT companies will take a long, hard look at their payment policies and rectify any disparities before the very vocal women in health IT that I know take matters into their own hands.
The issue – and opportunity for change – becomes even more pertinent, as we head into the HIMSS18 Global Conference season. Many attend health IT’s biggest event to network, job hunt, and even, interview on the show floor. And while it’s all about who you know, equal pay and a company’s willingness to address the issue are also beginning to shape show-floor career conversations.
I have no doubt that the topics of salary negotiation and interview skills will be top of mind for many women in health IT heading to Las Vegas. And I’m willing to bet they’ll be addressed during several conference sessions, including the Women in Health IT Mentor Meetup, #HealthITChicks Meetup and Career Fair session for aspiring female executives. I like to think that the future is always bright (that’s certainly the feeling I have after connecting with friends old and new at the conference each year); equal compensation for women working in our industry will only make it brighter. While a rising tide may lift all boats, it’s a fairly compensated female professional that will feel empowered – obligated, even – to advocate for colleagues, male or female, who aren’t getting a fair shake.
Meet with other influential women in health IT like Jenn Dennard at the HIMSS18 Women in Health IT Mentor Meetup, Thursday, March 8, from 9:30-10:30 am PST.