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Gender disparity: research suggests male nurses reach band 7 four years earlier than female counterparts

Initial findings reported at last week’s Capital Nurse Expo indicates that female nurses are more likely to average ten years to reach band 7 after qualifying – compared to male nurses, who average six years to reach the same level  

  • Research paper data collected from around 20,000 advanced nurse practitioners
  • Data set of almost 10,000 found men reached band 7 four years before women
  • Findings suggest trend continued for each band

Initial findings reported at last week’s Capital Nurse Expo indicates that female nurses are more likely to average ten years to reach band 7 after qualifying – compared to male nurses, who average six years to reach the same level  


Picture: iStock

Male nurses are promoted more quickly into their careers than female nurses, new research has suggested.

Early findings from a research paper – to be published by workforce expert Alison Leary – have indicated men are more likely to reach band 7 positions after six years of qualifying. This compares to women, who will on average take ten years to reach that level.

London South Bank University healthcare and workforce modelling chair Professor Leary revealed her initial findings at the Capital Nurse Expo last week in London.

Recruitment and retention 

Capital Nurse is a recruitment and retention programme for London, sponsored by Health Education England, NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Professor Leary said: ‘If you are a guy then why not come into nursing? You will earn more money.’


Alison Leary
Picture: Nathan Clarke

Her comments came after England’s chief nursing officer Jane Cummings expressed a desire to attract more men into the profession at her recent summit in Liverpool.

Only 11% of nurses and midwives in the UK are men.

Professor Leary collected data from around 20,000 advanced nurse practitioners – studying their career progression where possible, as well as the number of people working part-time.

In a data set containing 9,845 nurses, men were found to have reached band 7 four years before women.

The trend continued for each band, with men likely to reach band 8b in 15 years compared to the 22 years it took women.

Slight narrowing of gap 

The research showed, however, a slightly narrowing of the gap by band 8d, with men reaching that grade after 26 years of nursing, compared with 30 years for female nurses.

Professor Leary said her data also showed women were more likely to accept moving to a lower band to secure their dream job.

‘Around 10% of the female band 7s and 15% of the female band 8As accepted a lower band to get the job they wanted. None of the men did.'

Professor Leary said there was a strong correlation between the slower speed of promotion for women and the bigger proportion of women working part time compared with men.

Part-time work

A second data set of 10,982 advanced nurse practitioners showed around 32% of females had worked part time at band 6, as opposed to 15% men.

This increased to about 34% of female nurses at band 7 working part-time, compared with just over 12% of male band 7s.

One female audience member suggested this was because women were more likely to work part time and not want the pressure of a promotion when their children were young.

Another person, a human resources manager, suggested a Swedish model of maternity and paternity leave may help reduce the discrepancy – with each parent having a mandatory year off.

Other comments from the floor included concerns that women were unable to secure flexible working arrangements to take promotions.


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