Growing Pay Gap Impacting Women, BIPOC Professionals

Numerous studies have pointed to widespread feelings of dissatisfaction, burnout, and turnover among nursing professionals. The study found that 28% of nursing professionals had changed work settings in 2020 and 2021, and 47% were open to new opportunities. 29% of nurses across all licensures are considering leaving the profession — an 18% jump from the 2020 survey. The largest percentages were seen among nurses at the beginning of their careers (ages 18-24) and more experienced nurses (ages 65+).

In this survey, other key findings include:

  • Salaries up overall: The median RN salary reported by respondents was $78,000, an increase over the median RN salary of $73,000 in 2020.
  • Widening gender pay gap: The median salary for an RN identifying as male ($90,000) is $14,000 higher than the median salary of an RN identifying as female ($76,000). This gap was $7,297 in’s 2020 study. 4 RNs in the study identified as nonbinary, and their median salary was $84,000. 40% of male RNs said they “always” or “most of the time” try to negotiate a higher salary, compared to 31% of women.
  • Pay equity concerns among BIPOC professionals: Nurses who identify as Black, African American, American Indian, or Alaska Native reported the lowest levels of satisfaction with their current salary. These groups also reported working the longest hours, and nurses identifying as Black or African American reported working the most overtime hours.
  • Shift toward travel nursing: With escalating demand and higher pay, more nurses are considering becoming travel nurses. About 4% of respondents said they were travel nurses, with 62% becoming travel nurses in 2020 or 2021.
  • Younger nurses considering changing employers: 23% of millennials are actively looking to change employers, compared to 17% of nurses overall. The overwhelming majority (73%) of Generation Z nurses are open to new opportunities.
  • Training opportunities available: 46% of nurses said they plan to pursue training as a way to boost their salary, with 34% planning to pursue a degree. LPN/LVNs are more likely to pursue additional education than nurses with other license types, with APRNs least likely.

“Nurse staffing shortages exceeded crisis levels during the pandemic, and while pay has risen for many nurses, a substantial number of nurses are still feeling underpaid and overworked,” said Felicia Sadler, MJ, BSN, RN, CPHQ, LSSBB, ambassador and Patient Safety & Quality Executive at Relias. “Frontline nurses are the backbone of care delivery and it’s vital that they feel valued and rewarded. This report serves as a decision-making handbook for nurses as they evaluate their roles and navigate their career development, as well as a guide for employers as they seek to better understand how to address the inequities in their workforces and strengthen their organizations.”

“It’s more important than ever that all nursing professionals feel supported as they continue to face challenges daily as a result of the pandemic,” said Trish Richardson, MSN, BSBA, RN, NE-BC, CMSRN, ambassador and Clinical Executive Consultant at Relias. “As a nurse educator, I’d recommend that organizations assess their current training, professional development and career pathing offerings including clinical pathways and mentor programs to ensure employees are supported at every stage of their career. Considering long-standing racial pay disparities, I encourage all of my peers, and especially nurses of color, to continue advocating for themselves, negotiating for higher salaries and securing pay equity. Florence Nightingale’s sentiment that nurses should continue learning all of our lives remains relevant today. I propose we heed the call and continue our education and pursue advanced degrees and specialty certifications. You see, whether through your employer or independent study, advanced training and education opens up a world of opportunities and well positions you for future successes.”

About from Relias is a trusted go-to resource for nurses all over the world. For more than 30 years, we have provided nurse learners with the state and federally approved courses you need for continuing education and personal growth. We also provide you with reliable content on the latest healthcare trends and a job board to help you achieve your career aspirations. At, we share a common goal with nurses —providing patients the best possible care when they need it. And we’re here whenever you need us.

About Relias
For more than 11,000 healthcare organizations and 4.5 million caregivers, Relias continues to help clients deliver better clinical and financial outcomes by reducing variation in care. Our platform employs performance metrics and assessments to reveal specific gaps in skills and addresses them with targeted, personalized and engaging learning. We help healthcare organizations, their people, and those under their care, get better. Better at identifying problems, addressing them with better knowledge and skills, and better outcomes for all. Let us help you get better:

Media Contact
Matter for and Relias
Abby Mayo, 617.272.0592
[email protected]



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *