According to an analysis, women working in mental health face a gender pay gap that could see them earn 6% less than their male colleagues.
Only three NHS mental health trusts reported no difference in hourly pay between male and female mental health staff – including psychiatrists, nurses and health assistants, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
The college said it could take “decades” for mental health trusts to close the gender pay gap without action.
Some organizations have stark differences in pay rates, the college said.
One trust, the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT), had the largest gender pay gap, with men being paid 17.7% more than women on average, the college said.
The college sent freedom of information requests to 50 mental health trusts in England asking for their median hourly wages for all staff.
The responses of 49 show that female staff earned on average 6% less than male staff.
Data from 49 trusts shows the gap between men’s and women’s median hourly earnings has narrowed by just 0.1 percentage point over the past five years, according to data shared with the PA news agency. .
A consultant psychiatrist said: ‘I don’t know why male consultants to the trust were paid more than me for similar work, but it felt unfair to me and unfortunately the experience left me disengaged from the trust.
“I know that there are women who don’t feel comfortable asking their colleagues about their salaries and who are trapped in a situation similar to mine.
“We would all benefit from more transparent data so men and women can compare how much they are paid for their work.”
The college has urged mental health trusts to sign up to its gender pay gap action plan.
Dr Beena Rajkumar, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: ‘We are in the midst of a cost of living crisis and women can no longer afford to pay the price of the gender pay gap.
“Thousands of working women are denied better pay and exciting career opportunities solely because of their gender.
“Many NHS mental health trusts have struggled to make progress on this issue since they were first required to publish their gender pay gap data in 2017.
“They’re still decades away from closing the gap and every year they don’t act is another year women are forced to settle for less than they’re worth.”
Sarah Connery, Managing Director of LPFT, said: “LPFT is proud to have an inclusive and diverse workforce, but based on our data, we recognize that there is an issue around our pay gap. between the sexes, and we are doing all we can to strengthen equality.
This is a separate study from the University of Cambridge which found that certain specialties were more attractive to female or male physicians.
Meanwhile, ethnic minority doctors are less likely to get specialist NHS training positions.
Academics reviewed applications for medical and surgical specialist training positions within the NHS in 2021/22.
They found that surgical specialties and radiology had the highest proportion of male applicants, while obstetrics and gynecology and public health had the highest proportion of applicants.
Overall, 33% of applications were accepted.
While half of the applicants were non-UK graduates, the overall pass rate for UK graduates was 44.5%, compared to 22.8% for non-UK graduates.
Dr Dinesh Aggarwal, first author of the study, said: “The data suggests that there is a need to review recruitment policies and processes from a diversity and inclusion perspective.