The numbers are up

A plenary session at APP2019.

Profession continues to grow its numbers, with a stronger female presence, according to new Pharmacy Board data

The number of registered pharmacists has continued to climb, with close to one thousand additional pharmacists registered over the past twelve months.

A growing profession

The latest AHPRA data, released by the Pharmacy Board of Australia in its quarterly newsletter last week show that in March 2020 there were 32,777 registered pharmacists.

Of these, 29,620 held general registration, another 1865 held provisional registration, 18 held limited registration (undergoing postgraduate training or supervised practice) and 1274 were non-practising.

The numbers have grown from 31,785 registered pharmacists in March 2019.

In May 2012, the earliest data on the Board website, there were 26,434 registered pharmacists.


The percentage of female pharmacists has also continued to increase.

In March 2020, 63.1% of the profession was female, slightly higher the 62.8% reported in the previous March. (57.29% of pharmacists were female in May 2012.)

The female dominance was highest in the ACT (66.1%) and lowest in Tasmania (60.6%).

Age breakdown

The largest five-year age bracket is among pharmacists aged 30-34 years, of whom there are 6,597.

There are 5,967 aged 25-29 years, and 5,442 aged 30-34 years. 

There are 826 registered pharmacists aged over 70 years, of whom 170 are 80 or more years of age.

Interestingly, the number of pharmacists aged under 25 years has dropped slightly from the 2019 figure (down by 7 to 2,131), as has that of those in the 25-29 age bracket (down by 115).

Those aged in their 30s had increased – up by 188 in the cohort aged 30-34, and by 392 in those aged 35-39. 

There were also nearly 300 more pharmacists aged in the 40-44 years bracket when compared to the previous year. 


Previous Pharmacy plan ‘essential’ as cases rise
Next Recognition for essential workers

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


  1. Ex-Pharmacist

    Headline should have read “THE NUMBERS ARE DOWN!”
    Pharmacists aged under 30 down by 122 despite 16 odd pharmacy schools churning them out in their thousands. Can only mean one thing. Young Pharmacists are leaving the ‘profession’ in droves.

    • Steven J

      Hi Ex-Pharmacist.

      I am strongly considering being like you as soon as possible.

      We don’t need studies and articles to explain why people are leaving. Pay is too low and the only way to make more is to buy a pharmacy.

      Unfortunately the location rules have created short supply which force prices up. It’s just too big a gamble for many. Pharmacists are left with no choice but to leave.

      Double the award wage and you’ll save the profession. If it’s too expensive for any owner they’re more than welcome to sell. Or here’s a thought: How about a pharmacist working in their own pharmacy?

      That or remove location rules and stop forcing younger generations from being forced to pay for essentially a business with a shakey future, increasingly disgruntled underpaid staffing and the former owner’s retirement.

      These things won’t happen. The poorest of us don’t have a lobby group unfortunately.

      • Jarrod McMaugh

        “Pay is too low and the only way to make more is to buy a pharmacy.”

        Don’t bet on it….

      • TALL POPPY

        *40+ year olds are leaving the pharmacy because they were around during the ‘good days’. They are some of the smartest in the profession before the entry marks were lowered and still can remember how good the profession used to be. Now they have seen the profession go downhill year after year and can’t stand it any longer – low pay, more workload, stress, far less patient respect and ZERO opportunity. Thus they leave. And who would blame them.

        I have spoken to so many pharmacists that feel this way and now the younger generation are beginning to learn and figure this out too.

        Modify the location rules so that pharmacists can actually start a new
        pharmacy. Modify the ownership rules so as to prevent big
        groups/individuals from owning so many pharmacies (and Im not talking
        about CWH). This would be a start to ensure the profession’s continued success.

        • Paul Sapardanis

          Too late. Regulators cant/won’t find ownership breaches and all you will do is create large groups that will continually exploit them. A pharmacist should be paid a professional wage regardless of ownership. We need to move forward to this new model

  2. Patrick Mahony

    I have been a rural pharmacist for 35 years and as a former Pharmacy Board member for 12 years, have had a keen interest in the statistics of registration.
    In the lead up to 7CPA and our experience in obtaining pharmacists for our business, I used the previous 5 years of National data to produce a workforce report.
    I have updated the data with the latest three quarters to April 2020.
    In my chart (which would not upload) I have excluded the under 25 age group. The age groups as expressed as follows “25 years to 29 years” is listed as 30 and so on. The first five years of 20 to 24 years is more complex in that this group includes pharmacists who are completing or have completed a second degree.
    I created an average number of pharmacists in each category for this 5 years and 9 months.
    As each group runs for 5 years, I then created an average increase or decline in each age which is charted as the orange line.
    The most significant decline in renewal of registration is in the age group 35 years to 39 years and the 40 years to 44 years.
    The PSA has devoted much energy in supporting Early Career Pharmacists. This is an important project.
    The profession however must try and address the decline in the 30 to 45 age groups.
    These are the years that the registration in no longer renewed, not necessarily when they stopped working or reduced working hours.
    • Why do these groups leave the profession?
    • Does the gender balance change within each age group
    Happy to provide the data and charts

  3. Andrew

    Have a look at, heading “Seeking experiences with recruitment of pharmacists”.

    Seems like Guild is preparing a submission to the Skilled Migration Occupation List – can’t remember if pharmacy is on there or not right now, but not a great sign for wages.

    Hey owners, if you’re having trouble recruiting it’s you, not the applicants.

    • Paul Sapardanis

      I have been lead to believe that they already have made a submission regards th SMO list. Fruit pickers here we come!!!

Leave a reply