Poll: Pay, quitting and recommending pharmacy

Businessman hiding his face behind paper with I quit words written on it

Would you recommend community pharmacy as a career… and are you thinking of quitting? Tell us in our latest poll

This month the AJP reported on new data from the union for employee pharmacists, which revealed that low morale in the profession is creating the risk that large numbers of members of the profession could quit it entirely.

Pharmacists reported that pressure, stress and low pay were among their chief concerns… and PPA singled out employees of discounters – namely Chemist Warehouse, My Chemist and Discount Drug Stores – as particularly unhappy.

Up to 30% of pharmacists at some store types were considering quitting pharmacy altogether, and less than a third of respondents said they would recommend the profession to anyone considering it.

In response to this and earlier articles about the report, our readers expressed dissatisfaction with their pay and conditions.

“I’m on my way out now, retraining for a better paid career,” wrote reader Experienced Pharmacist, saying they had worked “to the point of exhaustion” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile Kitty Penfold contrasted the pay her son earns – a base $55 an hour, with up to double time and a half on public holidays – driving a train after a 72-week training course, compared with the five-year pharmacy qualification.

Pilimao’s answer as simple: “No more argument with this long term issue, is to get out and make sure my kids never come into this poor, disrespected profession”.

And Disgruntled Pharmacist had some advice: “To all prospective undergraduate students, my advice to you is to stay away from the discount chains and find something more fulfilling (eg hospital, industry)”.

If you’re in community pharmacy, we’d like to know what you think in our three mini-polls below: would you recommend pharmacy, are you planning to stay in community pharmacy, and also whether your pay has increased in real terms during the last ten years (not including your intern year, if you’ve been fully registered nine years or less).

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NOTICE: It can sometimes take awhile for comment submissions to go through, please be patient.


  1. Anonymous

    Pharmacists are underpaid, unrecognised and not respected in Australia. The solution is changing undergraduate Pharmacy curriculum to include more clinical content and therefore recognising and utilising the new graduates as healthcare professionals rather than retailers or shop keepers.

    • James O'Loughlin

      More clinical content! You may not have realised yet anon, but the aim of the industry (Guild & Federal Government) is to drive wages down to keep the businesses profitable and PBS under control. It’s a rigged game and we’re the pawns doing all the work and being paid peanuts.
      Reality is this is a dead end career.

  2. James O'Loughlin

    Couldn’t think of a better send off for George Tambassis than with a poll about the state of the profession under his leadership. Can’t wait to see what schemes Prof. Twomey has in store for us next.

    • Andrew

      I’ll bet you a small coffee that the presidency is a stepping stone before Liberal preselection in Leichhardt.

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