The average pay for physicians rose 5.9% in 2023, a turnaround from the 2.4% decline in 2022, though issues with overwork and the gender wage gap persist, according to a Doximity study released Thursday morning.

The company’s annual physician compensation report found that while the average pay increased last year, high inflation rates adversely impacted doctors’ real income.

Another compounding factor is the record level of stress and burnout experienced by doctors nationwide.

More than 80% of physicians reported feeling overworked and nearly 60% said they considered an employment change, which represents an improvement compared to the 2022 survey results but remains higher than the responses in 2021.

Less than one-third of physicians one-third said they believe their compensation reflects the level of expertise and effort required in their role.

Additionally, while the gender gap between what male physicians and females physicians make declined from 26% to 23%, the issue remains a thorn in the industry’s side. On average, women physicians earn nearly $102,000 less than men physicians.

The annual snapshot provides industry leaders with a sense of where physicians of all backgrounds and specialties stand as well as what areas have room for improvement.

“The U.S. healthcare system continues to face significant challenges that are taking a toll on even the most dedicated medical professionals,” Doximity co-founder and chief strategy officer Nate Gross, MD said in a statement. “Physicians are increasingly tasked with achieving more with less. The goal of this report is to empower physicians to advocate for themselves and make better-informed career decisions.”

Broken down by specialty, surgical and procedural specialties led the way in terms of compensation.

Neurosurgeons earned an average of $763,908 in 2023, followed by thoracic surgeons at $720,634, orthopedic surgeons at $654,815 and plastic surgeons at $619,812.

Meanwhile, pediatric and primary care physicians registered the lowest average annual compensation. Pediatric endocrinologists earned $217,875 on average last year, followed by pediatric nephrologists at $227,450, pediatric rheumatologists at $233,491 and pediatric infectious disease physicians at $236,235.

When it comes to the largest increase in average annual compensation, hematologists led the way with 14.2% growth to $392,260 in earnings. Family medicine physicians also achieved double digit growth, with average annual compensation topping $300,000.

Physicians also had higher compensation in single specialty groups, bringing in $461,368, followed by multi-specialty groups at $447,546.

Geographically speaking, it’s better to be a physician in some metropolitan areas rather than others. 

In San Jose, physicians reported the highest annual compensation with $474,977, followed by Los Angeles at $448,121 and St. Louis at $442,576. 

On the other hand, doctors in San Antonio brought home $371,073, the lowest average compensation in the country, followed closely behind by $371,215 in Denver and $371,495 in Washington, D.C.