How many pharmacists does it take…?

pharmacist workforce people growing numbers

Pharmacist numbers continue to rise, while the trend toward greater female numbers seems to have stalled

The number of registered pharmacists is continuing to climb, according to the latest statistics released by the Pharmacy Board of Australia.

As of December 2020, there were 34,922 pharmacists registered in Australia. This total includes 1,936 eligible pharmacists that are part of the short-term pandemic response sub-register.

  • 32,393 held general registration
  • 1,399 held provisional registration
  • 1,118 were non-practising

The total number was a slight increase on the September total of 34,580 pharmacists.

It is a large jump of 3700 from the grand total of 32,412 pharmacists registered in December 2019.

The earliest total listed on the Board website, from March 2012 recorded a total of 26, 434 registered pharmacists.

From the December 2020 total, 18,964 of those registered were aged from 25 to 39 years, with 6998 aged from 30 to 34 years – the single largest five year cohort.

The number of registered pharmacists aged under 25 years had dropped slightly from the December 2019 figure, down from 1,734 to 1,709.

Until the last three years, the cohort aged 25-29 years had been the largest single group, however 30-34 and increasingly 35-29 year old pharmacists are now starting to dominate the demographic breakdown.   

At the other end of the age scale, there are 269 registered pharmacists aged 80 years and above. Another 971 are aged in their 70s.

Interestingly, the overall trend over the last decade of an ever greater proportion of pharmacists being female seems to have stalled.

The December 2020 stats show 62.8% of pharmacists are female, down slightly from 62.9% in the December 2019 breakdown.

In March 2012, females made up 57% of the pharmacist workforce.

To see the full statistical report, click here


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  1. Philip Smith

    How many are actually practicing? How many are retraining or in another health field or job etc but keeping their registration as a backup?

    • Paul Sapardanis

      I have always wondered how many pharmacists are still working in community pharmacy after 5 years? Unless we address the poor rate of pay anything we introduce as an extra service we cannot move to the service model we crave.

      • Michael Post

        Chris can we have a poll – how many pharmacists maintain registration but have changed career or are studying/ training in a different field?

        • Paul Sapardanis

          Could we also find out what roles they are now doing?

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