News from New Zealand


News from New Zealand

Our sister union in New Zealand, The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) has just released two reports which should be of great interest members.

Gender pay gap affects specialists – new study

ASMS commissioned independent research to determine whether female specialists employed by New Zealand District Health Boards (DHB) are paid less than their male colleagues.

The main finding of the research is that female specialists are paid 12.5% less per hour than their male colleagues.

Conducted by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, the researchers concluded that the pay gap reflects gender bias rather than other factors.

The study controlled for potentially confounding factors like specialty choice and the number of hours worked.

The disparity exists between males and females of the same age, in the same specialty, working for the same hours per week in their DHB employment.

The gap increased to 13.6% between male and female specialists with one child, and 17.2% between male and female specialists with two or more children.

Consequently, ASMS will ask DHBs to introduce gender pay audits using mutually agreed methodology to try to eliminate this inequality.

ASMS Director of Policy and Research Dr Charlotte Chambers said the findings are of great concern

“The research demonstrates that male specialists earn more than their female colleagues of the same age, working in the same specialty, and working the same hours per week in their DHB employment”

“It’s now up to DHBs to address this issue and ensure that men and women doing the same work with the same experience are paid equally.”

A copy of the research is here along with an executive summary.

Yawning trans-Tasman salary gap for medical specialists

New research reveals medical specialists in New Zealand’s public hospitals are, on average, earning as much as 60 percent less than their Australian counterparts.

The research, conducted by BERL for the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, compared the base 40-hour a week salaries of senior hospital doctors on both sides of the Tasman.

“There is no surprise that salaries for medical specialists are higher in Australia than here”, says BERL Research Director Dr Ganesh Nana.

“However, the size of the gap is astonishing. This is starkly illustrated by noting that the top step in the New Zealand salary scale is below that of the lowest entry-level salary for a newly qualified specialist in Australia”.

It means a newly qualified medical specialist in Australia is earning slightly more than the highest-paid New Zealand specialist who’s at the top of their scale. This is clearly illustrated in Figure 1.2 of the report.

ASMS Executive Director Ian Powell says it’s an alarming disparity, particularly as DHBs face an estimated national specialist shortage of 24%.

“Australia is a threat because of our shared specialist training systems and being so geographically close. New Zealand is dependent on overseas-trained doctors. Apart from Israel we have the highest dependence on international recruitment in the OECD.

“We compete with Australia so if you’re an overseas doctor looking to come to either country, you’re much more likely to choose Australia because the pay is so much more attractive and purchasing power is also higher,” Mr Powell says.

Pay scale progression for New Zealand specialists is also slower. It takes 15 years to reach the top step, compared to nine in most Australian states.

Ganesh Nana adds “this bleak comparison of salaries is exacerbated by a range of more favourable non-salary benefits available to medical specialists in Australia.”

“DHBs need to recognise that they are competing in an Australian medical specialist labour market and develop a retention and recruitment strategy that recognises this,” added Mr Powell.

The full report is available here