The number of jobs in the nursing profession in the US has grown at a rapid pace, according to a report released Tuesday.
The National Association of Nurse Educators (NANAE) reported that in July, more than 578,000 new positions were created in nursing education, with about 1.5 million of those jobs held by women.
That represents a 25% increase over July 2016, the group said.NANAe President Stephanie Stegman said in a statement that while the nursing job growth is encouraging, the issue of pay parity in the profession is a long-term issue that is “far from over.”
The pay gap between male and female nursing educators is still “large and wide” with female teachers earning roughly $25,000 less than their male counterparts, Stegmantsaid.
She said the pay gap was exacerbated by the “lack of a workforce of qualified, highly qualified, and experienced female nurses in the country” that are still competing for jobs.
She noted that, in some states, women teachers have been paid less than men for the same work.
Stegmant said that in states with the highest pay equity, she expects to see even more progress made in the next year.
The NANAE report found that the median salary for female nurses is $38,800 and for male nurses it’s $55,600, with a range of $25 to $75,000.
But it’s the difference between male nurses’ median salary and the median pay for women that is of concern.
Stemming the gender pay gap is key for a number of reasons, Steremingsaid.
A 2013 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that gender bias in the workforce is responsible for nearly half of all wage inequality in the United States.
“For female nurses, the wage gap is greater than for male teachers in every category except for seniority,” Steremgansaid.
Steremantsays that “women earn less than half of what men earn, so the challenge of addressing the gender gap will be challenging and may require greater investments in education.”
She said that while this could be a positive for women who are qualified for the nursing jobs, it also puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to the workforce.
Stemgansays the nursing education industry needs to invest in better training and recruiting, particularly among women.
“We need to recruit more women, but also more men to enter this field,” she said.
“It’s time to invest more in women in nursing, and in education in general.”
For more on this story, check out the Associated Press and NBC News.