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Male nurses better represented at higher pay bands than female colleagues

Men in specialist and advanced practice nursing roles are likely to reach the highest paid posts more quickly than women, according to new research.

The UK-wide study also found that women in specialist and advanced practice are more likely to accept dropping a pay grade in order to land a job they want.

Across all nursing posts, males are overrepresented at higher pay grades – including ‘very senior manager’ posts - in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, despite the proportion of men at band 5 being lower than the overall proportion of men in the nurse workforce in all countries.

In England, male nurses were proportionally higher at bands 6-8, with the biggest differences seen at 8a and 8d. Men made up 15.9% of 8a nurses, despite only forming 11.3% of the overall nurse workforce.

At band 8d, the difference was greater, with men forming 17.1% of the nurse workforce at this grade.

For other countries, the study found that:

  • Scotland saw the biggest difference at band 8d, with 20.1% of male nurses at this pay band, with an overall male nurse workforce of 10.6%
  • In Wales it was band 8b, with 17% of male nurses operating here from a total workforce of just 9.7%.
  • For Northern Ireland, band 8c had the highest proportion of male nurses at 18.5%, with a male workforce of 6.6%.

Researchers also assessed the time taken by men to attain higher pay bands compared to women. They found that men reached band 7 after six years, on average, compared to 10 years for women.

‘The underlying reasons for the gender pay gap and disparity of opportunity are complex and not fully understood,’ the authors concluded.

They added that underlying reasons for the gender pay gap might include part-time working, taking time out to have and bring up a child, and unconscious assumptions that women don’t want to or are unable to accept promotion due to caring for their families.