A profession in demand

tossing mortarboards

Results from the Graduate Outcomes Survey reveal both undergrads and postgrads in pharmacy enjoy a full-time employment rate of over 95%

According to the 2017 survey, pharmacy follows medicine as the second most in-demand industry for Australian undergraduates.

Medicine undergraduates had the highest full-time employment rate of 95.9%, followed by pharmacy (95.2%), dentistry (86.8%) and rehabilitation (85.7%).

The rate for pharmacy undergraduates was slightly lower than it was in 2016 at 96.3%.

Graduates of postgraduate coursework in pharmacy also enjoyed the second-highest rate of full-time employment at 95.3% – much higher than its 2016 rate of 88%.

And only 11.4% of pharmacy graduates were likely to report that their employment did not fully utilise their skills and education, one of the lowest rates for this area.

Employment in postgraduate pharmacy research fell dramatically, from 90.9% in 2016 to 77.1% in 2017.

Part-time employment among pharmacy graduates in the 2017 survey was very low at 8.5% (as a proportion of all employed graduates), compared with 54% of science and mathematics graduates, and 50% of those who studied humanities, culture and social sciences.

And part-time employment was, surprisingly, higher among men (at 9.4%) than among women (8.1%).

The lowest full-time median undergraduate salary by study area was pharmacy (intern year) at $44,200, compared to the medicine (intern year) graduate salary of $70,300.

The undergraduate employment results generally match the data from previous years, says PSA National President Shane Jackson, who highlighted that rates for health professionals in the survey can be expected to be high, because it’s compulsory to complete an intern year after graduating.

“Like medicine and nursing, pharmacy is an in-demand career because of the need for the provision of pharmaceuticals, with demand within hospitals, community pharmacy, academia, etc.

“Most graduates will never have a problem picking up an internship.

“In pharmacy, there’s not many at all who are unemployed, and there’s not many who are underemployed.”

In general, at the undergraduate level, the full-time employment rate measured by the 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey was 71.8%, a slight improvement of from 70.9% recorded in 2016.

“Since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), graduates have taken longer to establish a foothold in the labour market. The full-time employment rate for undergraduates peaked at 85.2% in 2008 and fell by 17.1 percentage points to 68.1% in 2014, as measured by the previous AGS,” says the survey.

“Since 2014, there has been a moderate improvement in undergraduate employment, with the full-time employment rate increasing to 68.8 per cent in 2015, as measured by the AGS, and 70.9% in 2016 and 71.8% in 2017, as measured by the GOS.

“This is consistent with a modest improvement in general labour market conditions, with the overall unemployment rate falling from 5.7% in May 2016 to 5.5% in May 2017.”


Top 5 points from the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017:

  1. Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry and Rehabilitation undergraduates had the highest rates of full-time employment at 95.9%, 95.2%, 86.8% and 85.7% respectively.
  2. Creative arts, Science and mathematics, Psychology and Communications had the lowest rates full-time employment rates of 53.2%, 59%, 60.3% and 60.6% respectively.
  3. Regional/remote graduates’ full-time employment rate was 75.5% compared with 70.6% for metropolitan graduates.
  4. Over the ten years to 2017, part-time employment grew at around twice the rate of full-time employment across the workforce.
  5. The median undergraduate salary level increased by $2,100 or by 3.% to $60,000 in 2017.


See the full survey here

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  1. GlassCeiling

    I wonder what employment story is post intern year? It may not be too bad considering many pharmacists leaving the profession to make room for 50k full time new registrants

    • Geoffrey Colledge

      The reason why there is such a high percentage of employment is that the price is so cheap.
      A checkout operator at a major supermarket can earn the same as a pharmacist.

  2. Gavin Mingay

    Yep.. Pharmacy is a great career choice… Over 95% employment rate first year out… Ignore the fact that first year out is not actually a qualified pharmacist, earning a proper wage… Ahhh statistics…

  3. Ex-Pharmacist

    Sheshtyn, this is false reporting, for the reasons above. Your article has been reported in social media and is positively influencing prospective students towards a pharmacy career, at at time when many pharmacy leaders are warning against a pharmacy career. Please publish a clarification.

    • Jarrod McMaugh

      Stephen it clearly isn’t false reporting.

      What would be interesting to see though is how many people with pharmacy degrees are working in areas where a bpharm is desired but isn’t required, such as in government, the financial sector (PWC for instance), or have gone on to other related fields.

      • Red Pill

        One thing is for certain: Retaining experienced pharmacists us not happening, hence the consistent shortage of pharmacists.

        Keep on churning them out guys, they’ll be loving them award rates 😂

      • Michael Post

        I too would be interested to know how many registered bpharms are working outside of the industry. A bpharm appears to have little desirability elsewhere and given the meagre wages of non-owner pharmacists there is significant incentive to seek out alternative roles. Many low and non-skilled jobs offer similar or better pay. A poll perhaps Sheshtyn?

  4. Karalyn Huxhagen

    Right now there are five unfilled positions in my area and I have enough work as a locum to keep me occupied without going outside my local area. There is plenty of work. Some pharmacies in my area sadly need to close as they are barely scraping by.

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