Community pharmacy shortages driving salary growth

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Shortages of community pharmacists across both metro and regional areas – with many leaving the sector for hospital and industry – have led to a recent boost in wage growth, says recruitment agency

Employment opportunities remain strong within the community and hospital pharmacy sectors, according to a new report from Raven’s Recruitment.

Shortages of skilled pharmacists across both metropolitan and regional areas is also driving wage growth, says the agency.

“The recruitment market for pharmacists remains strong in 2018 and we predict this to continue during 2019,” says Raven’s Recruitment General Manager Heidi Dariz.

Ms Dariz, who has been with the company for over 16 years, says community pharmacy is experiencing shortages and the sector is losing pharmacists as well.

She told AJP that one of the reasons for the shortage of pharmacists in community pharmacy is that they are moving into hospital and industry roles – the two main reasons for this being the perceived greater stability of these sectors compared to community pharmacy, and the higher wages within both these areas.

“Competition for candidates is strong, with pharmacist shortages in the community pharmacy sector at a higher level than it has been for many years,” she says.

“This deficiency has led to a definite increase in wages for community pharmacists over the past 12 months, with the most noticeable increases being for those in rural locations.

“We have also started to notice, however similar increases in some metropolitan areas now too, indicating a clear upward trend in the industry.

“Additionally, the number of pharmacists looking to move into hospital and industry roles from the community sector is at an all-time high.

“With these shortages in community pharmacy, employers should value the candidate journey as more important than ever if you wish to attract the best calibre of talent.”

According to the report, the top paid areas for permanent pharmacy are regional and rural areas, followed by the ACT then other cities.

The report is based on actual data collated from the placements of both permanent and locum pharmacists and support staff over the past 12 months, rather than self-reported data collected from a survey, Ms Dariz points out.

Raven’s Recruitment says it has also noticed an increase in the demand for pharmacists to have training and experience in the 6CPA programs, with additional skills such as vaccination accreditation and diabetes education.

“Top candidates with these skills will often receive multiple job offers, so employers looking to secure these candidates must be pro-active with their interview and job offer process,” says the agency.

“We have often witnessed employers who have gone in with a low salary offer initially often don’t get the opportunity to negotiate before the candidate is snapped up elsewhere.”

Salaries for pharmacists in New Zealand are lower than for their Australian counterparts, with a pharmacist manager in one of the main cities (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch) receiving $NZ82,000 – 90,000 ($AUD 77,272- $84,811).

New Zealand metropolitan pharmacists have a salary range of $AUD56,541-$66,906, according to Raven’s Recruitment.

See more from Raven’s Recruitment here

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  1. Ex-Pharmacist

    Raven’s Recruitment General Manager Heidi Dariz is right. Of the dozens of non-owner pharmacists I know, 2 of them work as employee pharmacists in a retail pharmacy, and they hate it & want to get out. Many work in hospital pharmacy, with most accepting this is their career for life & reasonably happy with that, although the conflicts, bullying & personality clashes in these hospital pharmacy departments are fierce & they need to put their battle armor on every morning. A small number work for big Pharma, on good 6 figure packages. The rest? Long left the ‘profession’ and working in other fields e.g. Teaching, IT (especially Health IT) and public service (State health departments). PGA members will be scratching their heads, asking where did all their cheap labour go? What happened to those ~2000 grads a year, desperate for work to pay off their 40k HECS/HELP debts? Looks like you might need to pay a little bit more to get your ‘registered’ into your dispensary these days. We are all crying for you.

  2. Philip Smith

    So the main reason you earn more Metro/Rural is you work more hours.

    Interesting article with ABS data in wages across industry you can read here.

  3. Raymond Li

    It would be interesting to see what the average number of hours worked per week was for the total annual salaries. It would be meaningful if it was based on a 38 hour working week. However, if the average was 50 hours per week, then salaries haven’t really increased have they?

  4. Red Pill

    That moment when an entire profession realised there are a long list of far less skilled jobs that pay way above $28-32/hr wages and they went for it.

    Time to import some overseas pharmas PGA. Your university churn machine policy is failing you.

  5. Stephen Roberts

    Raymond Li & Peter Tran (see below) – I agree. I don’t know any employee community pharmacist working a standard 37 hour week. With most pharmacies open extended hours including Saturday, Sunday or both, these incomes reported are likely inflated on two fronts: (1) Well over 37 hours a week being worked (perhaps closer to 50 hours/week) & (2) Many hours worked attracting penalty rates.
    It seems pharmacists are embarrassed to disclose their actual hourly rate, and prefer to boast a more impressive annual salary inclusive of penalty rates & extended working hours.
    The name of the game is to attract fresh graduates into the 17 pharmacy schools around Australia to provide cheap and willing labour for pharmacy owners. This is just 1 of the tactics. There are many more.

  6. Bryan Soh

    wow this article is so true. I’m sure the massive number of pharmacists leaving the profession are going to decide to stay after reading this article. Maybe it’s time for the PGA to flex its political muscle and: 1) Lower the TER entry for pharm 2) Put pharmacy back on the skilled occupations list?

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