Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Careers Data chart

Doctors from ethnic minority backgrounds earn less than white colleagues

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 06 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k5089

Rapid Response:

Mind the Gap

It is undisputable that there is a pay gap between various groups in terms of race, sex, physical or mental disabilities and various other potentially discriminatory factors.

What is not proven is the simplistic view that this gap is merely due to discrimination and not due to various other confounding factors.

Ethnic pay gap in NHS could at least partially be explained by various non-discriminatory factors such as place of qualification, command of language, ability to pass exams, adjusting to new health care systems, guidance from peer groups, ability to network, getting on the career ladders that offer progression, socioeconomic status, childcare support, and personal career choices.

Publication of raw pay-gap data stimulates societal discussion but publication of gap data with statistical adjustment for confounders would be more scientific and fair.

Furthermore, Pay is not the only factor responsible for overall job satisfaction and happiness in life. If money is the only thing that brings happiness, then we would expect vast majority of people in the western world to be extremely happy and this is definitely not the case.

Promotion of Materialism and disregarding altruism and other factors contributing to the wellbeing of society is unhealthy.

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 December 2018
Santhanam Sundar
Consultant Oncologist
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust