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Report shows growing gender pay gap among nurses

Our recent 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report sheds light on nurses’ salaries during one of the most unprecedented events in health care – the COVID-19 pandemic coming amid a problematic nursing shortage crisis and a growing gender pay gap.

A total of 2,516 qualified nurses successfully completed the survey between November 12, 2021 and December 12, 2021, across the United States

The report showed that the median salary for nurses in 2021 was $78,000 for RNs, $120,000 for APRNs and $48,000 for LPNs/LVNs. Compared to our 2020 results ($73,000 for RNs, $107,000 for APRNs, and $45,000 for LPNs/LVNs), this year’s survey showed a significant increase in salaries.

The 2020 Nurse Salary Research Report found that male RNs earned nearly $7,300 more than female RNs. However, the most recent report showed an increase in the gender pay gap, with male RNs earning $14,000 more, nearly double the former gender pay gap rate.

Understanding the pay gap between nurses

Although the gender pay gap among nurses is disconcerting, it is unfortunately not a new problem – one that is not specific to nurses in the healthcare field. A 2020 report from the American Association of University Women notes that at the current rate, the global pay gap will exist until 2111 unless we accelerate progress.

The 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report found that the pay gap between men and women had widened dramatically, from $7,300 to $14,000 in just a few years. Various factors could fuel this disparity, such as clinical settings or higher acuity specialties that pay higher differentials.

The 2022 report also showed that men are more likely to negotiate their salary (40%), which could be a factor fueling the wage divide. According to our survey, 30% of participating nurses said they do not negotiate their salary, and 31% of RNs were less likely to negotiate their salary, always or most of the time.

Cara Lunsford, RN, Founder and CEO of HOLLIBLU and Vice President of Community at Relias, weighed in on the nurse-gender pay gap and how to move forward.

“This is a time when it is more important than ever for us to be very united and to support our nursing peers. It is important that we recognize that these pay gaps have existed in almost every industry and while we are making progress the pay disparity still exists and is something we still need to address when we think about bargaining salary. »

Take action to close the gender pay gap for nurses

Given the history of the gender pay gap and its continued growth, changes are clearly needed in the health sector. Although many decisions require the initiative of management, there are steps nurses can take to help close the gender pay gap in the years to come:

  1. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for a higher salary.
    Many nurses accept an initial offer without negotiating a higher salary. Other nurses who are otherwise satisfied with their career (and their unit, team, etc.) might not want to be seen as negative or unappreciative of asking for a higher salary. The demand for nurses has increased for many reasons, including retirements, staffing shortages and increased care needs as the population ages, giving nurses an edge in negotiating higher salaries. students.
  2. Find available data to share and compare salaries.
    The internet has endowed nurses with a plethora of data and places available to communicate with other nurses. Leveraging nursing communities on social media or job boards are great resources for sharing and comparing salaries.
  3. Discuss the gender pay gap with your management.
    During an initial interview, this is the perfect time to let management know that you are aware of the pay gap between nurses. Health leaders must be aware of the problem and be willing to address it in their organization. Be direct about your concerns during interviews or performance reviews.
  4. Find out which positions offer a higher salary and why.
    If you want to increase your pay and want to change roles, take the time to understand which units/positions offer higher pay and why. Do you need more experience or studies? Knowing what resources are needed will help you get there faster.
  5. Choose an organization that values ​​fairness and transparency.
    Although a higher salary may appeal to you initially, choosing an organization that prioritizes fairness and transparency will likely pay off in the long run. Leadership that understands and addresses what matters to nurses is essential. Look for organizations that are thoughtful in their approach to staff support. Flexibility, education, and support may end up serving you and your practice better than a slightly higher salary.

The Promise of Nursing Now

It’s a remarkable time to be a nurse. Although it is difficult and sometimes traumatic, it is also very rewarding. And for many nurses, they can’t imagine doing anything else. Nurses instinctively prioritize patient safety, almost always putting others first. It shouldn’t be an extra burden for nurses to make sure they’re paid fairly, and yet the gender pay gap has widened.

The demand for nurses has increased and is expected to increase over the next decade. Current and future nurses are able to prioritize what matters most to them and demand it. Information is power, as is communication and transparency. Leveraging data, such as the information shared in this salary report, can serve as a resource for you to understand effective ways to advance your career and a guide to understanding salary disparities and inequities in the nursing profession, giving you awareness to address these concerns.

For more information, download and view our 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report.


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