Opportunities to Address Pay Disparities Highlighted in 2018 HIMSS Compensation Survey

Professionals at office meeting

HIMSS is proud to announce an innovation in the release of our annual Compensation Survey: for the first time in our 12 years of study, we are reporting findings based upon race. An important barometer of compensation-related knowledge and trends, our 2018 findings are particularly resonant as gender equity issues dominate U.S. conversations.

Pay Disparities Persist

This year’s findings are – unfortunately – consistent with years past: data indicates pay disparities persist among select population groups. Specifically, our research shows that the average salary of health IT professionals varies by gender and race. On average across all positions and years in a position, females make 18 percent less than their male peers, and minorities make 12 percent less than non-minorities.

As we dig deeper, nuanced disparities emerge. Executive-level women face a larger salary gap compared to their male counterparts than women at other organizational levels. Concerningly, this gap is growing. Also, older respondents across all gender and racial categories reported greater pay disparities than their younger counterparts. And, minority females face the biggest gap in pay equity of all, with the lowest average salaries of the four gender-racial groups considered.

Perception vs. Reality

When it comes to digital health workers’ perceptions and satisfaction with their compensation, the data shows that, overall, our respondents tend to be moderately satisfied with their current base salaries. Non-white respondents tend to be less satisfied with their pay than respondents who identified as white, yet – perplexingly – females are statistically just as satisfied with their pay as their male peers. This paradox tells me that we need to better communicate compensation data to all digital health workers, and to better understand the compensation expectations and strategies of female digital health professionals.

Steps for Change

Knowledge is power. That’s why this annual longitudinal study is so important, because the first step in addressing these disparities is learning – and then acknowledging – that they exist. HIMSS sees these findings as a call to action. That’s why we invest in this research, and in providing ongoing education in areas like mentorship and career development – to help managers become educated why gender and racial equity is good for business, and how to reduce disparities. And, to equip workers with the tools to understand what they’re worth and how to successfully negotiate.

For those joining us at HIMSS18, this year’s programming takes these survey findings into consideration and aims to address some of the core issues facing underrepresented populations. We’re hosting a Women in Health IT Mentor Meetup, where attendees can make new connections and increase leadership opportunities. And, our Career Fair includes advice for aspiring female executives, what to expect when looking for a job, resume reviews, a personal brand workshop, and opportunities to directly interact with companies seeking to hire world-class talent.

Please join our Women’s Roundtable, a community of those who share a belief that compensation ought to be commensurate with a person’s skills and experience, and that a diverse workforce is a step on the road toward a healthier, more productive workforce.