What are you earning?


New tax office data lifts the lid on occupational income differences, and on the gender gap in pharmacist pay

A gender gap definitely exists in Australian pharmacist pay rates, if new tax data can be believed.

The data also shows that pharmacy assistants earn less on average than workers in a range of other retail occupations, including delicatessen, post office and cinema workers.  

Information released by the Australian Taxation Office sheds interesting light on the taxable income breakdowns across different occupations.

The data, from the ATO’s newly-released 2014-15 taxation statistics shows how pharmacist and pharmacy staff incomes compare with those of other occupations.  

The data shows that female hospital pharmacists earn more than their community (retail) pharmacy counterparts, while their male colleagues earn less than their equivalents in community pharmacy.

Data for both groups, as well as for the much smaller cohort of industrial pharmacists, reveal a substantial gender pay gap.

  • Retail pharmacist—Female: 10,556, average income $61,279
  • Retail pharmacist—Male: 5,799, average $83,792
  • Hospital pharmacist—Female 3,135, average $66,784
  • Hospital pharmacist—Male 1,045, average: $77,807
  • Industrial pharmacist—Female: 504, average: $93,427
  • Industrial pharmacist—Male: 312, average: $110,787

When those classified as pharmacists were added together, the average taxable income was $70,277.

Female pharmacists (of all types) skewed strongly into the $37,000-$80,000 income bracket, with more than half falling into this range. Male pharmacists were more evenly spread, with most in this bracket or in the $80,001-$180,000 range.     

In contrast, the average taxable income for GPs is $133,221 (female) and $186,643 (male). Pharmacy incomes compared closely to those of chiropractors, who earned $60,702 (female) and $75,604 (male).  

The taxation data reveals the relatively low pay of Australia’s pharmacy assistants, with the 31,804 females identifying themselves in this occupation having an average taxable income of $30,463. The 3,262 male pharmacy assistants recorded an average of $30,303.

This pay rate placed them behind that of retail assistants (including bottle shop and cinema attendants, post office clerks, cosmeticians, deli assistants and a range of others).

The ATO data also shows the taxable income for those identified as ‘Company rep. – medical and pharmaceutical products; Sales representative – medical and pharmaceutical products’.

The 4246 females identifying this as their occupation had an average taxable income of $84,653, while the 2911 male reps had an average of $104,981.

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13 Comments

  1. United we stand
    22/04/2017

    Maybe because female pharmacists work less hours than their male counterparts.

    • Shannon Mullen
      24/04/2017

      My wife and I are both Pharmacists… comparing tax returns our “gender” pay gap is 47% extra in my favour. She works three days a week, I work five and a half… funnily enough when expressed as a percentage that is almost the same “pay gap”

    • Tim Hewitt
      24/04/2017

      exactly.. data is meaningless as the number of hours worked is not accounted for.. and its ‘taxable income”, also, which is AFTER all those deduictions due to the negative gearing of several properties, and includes the extra income being earned as an uber driver after hours.. … blah blah blah

  2. amanda cronin
    22/04/2017

    I have always been paid per hr less then less qualified and less industrious male colleagues.
    One year a new grad was paid $10 an hr more then me on a wage and I was casual.
    Men are generally just pusher when asking for more money- I just find it annoying to to do the same or more work and get paid less but my fault for not demanding more. I don’t like asking small or less profitable pharmacies for more money as they have plenty of difficulties in the current market with price disclosure, competition from discounter etc.

  3. Gavin Mingay
    22/04/2017

    Why don’t you show the total hours worked by sex as well?

  4. Jarrod McMaugh
    22/04/2017

    Gavin and United, your point is fine based on the data here, since we can’t know from ATO data the times that people worked….. but do you really think that the data would show parity in pay between genders?

    You could go further and ask to have the data sections by responsibility too…. and I think it would show that there is still a cultural issue in the way that above-award wages are paid to different groups of people.

    Amanda makes a comment below that she may be “at fault” for her wages for not demanding more. Maybe this is the case for individuals, but it’s compounded by a bigger issue in that people still place higher value on men’s work than women’s, without any justification for this belief. What I’m saying here is that the default wage the “average” employer has been willing to offer men is higher, so on average men will take home more wages even when they don’t demand more than the initial offer. Add to that the acceptance of men in negotiating their wages, while it is frowned upon for women to do this, and you get greater disparity.

    For previous articles on this topic, there are people who have made a point of saying that it is illegal to pay one staff member less than another staff member based on gender and ask for evidence of this happening. While this is the case, it doesn’t account for above-award wages paid in different businesses across industry.

    For instance, if there is an average hourly rate for men in community pharmacy working in the same role of X, and the average hourly rate for women in community pharmacy is less than X, then this shows that there is an issue…. and while it’s not one of collusion, it is still a major cultural problem…. we can’t justify valuing one person’s time over another’s just based on how many X or Y chromosomes they carry.

    • pagophilus
      24/04/2017

      “but do you really think that the data would show parity in pay between genders?”
      We can’t assume. We can’t argue from a position of absence of information. I’d like to see the data.

  5. Cat
    24/04/2017

    As a full time employee female pharmacist (without children) I have never been paid less per hour than my male counterparts, in 15 years of practise.
    I have however, openly been told I eould not be considered for partnership within a group where I had worked for 10 years, as I was female.
    I have also numerous times over been given the less socialable hours on the roster, as it did not “impose on my personal life” apparently. This included 7 years of 4 nights per week and working every weekend, with no compensatory 2 consecitivr days off elsewhere in the roster. Yes, not award conditions but as paid above the appalling pharmacist award employer stood firm award conditions were not required to be provided.
    However, what has always been the most irritating to me is female part time counterparts; who cause staff angst, receive equal pay rates, frequently leave early or request shift swaps due to “child commitments” and whenever these issues addressed pull out the discrimination play card. So sadly, I understand why females receive lower pay rates; they are so frequently simply less dependable/committed than their male counterparts (and those minority females for whatever reason don’t have children)

    • Vicki Dyson
      24/04/2017

      I can understand you looking at the female pharmacists with children requesting hours to suit their dual responsibilities, feeling they are given special treatment. However, how valuable is it for a business to have someone on hand who is thoroughly familiar with the running of the business who can make themselves available to cover busy times, holidays, absences for funerals/accountant visits/social events/ in the business but not expect to be employed for a full 8-9hour day. It works both ways. I twinned a job with another lady for decades. When her children were on holidays, I would cover, if she wanted to attend social function or if she was sick, I would cover. I worked 1/2day per week plus every Sat morning. The boss never needed to find a locum, we worked it out between ourselves. From my point of view, the pay wasn’t great but I was able to stay in touch with my peers during child rearing years and be of value to the business. I feel that I had the best of both worlds.

      • Cat
        24/04/2017

        Extremely valuable if they were helpful; and perhaps my experiences are completely rare. However, what I have been exposed to to is constant inability to help out in such instances as no one available to mind child, there only time with husband and children as a family, can’t do extra shifts as payment would impact on welfare payments……
        I guess; we can all only comment from our own experience and I am to say the least a little enviously of the considerate and helpful colleague you have been fortunate to work with. I hope one day to encounter a similiar person.

  6. JimT
    24/04/2017

    I would like to know whether it includes proprietors incomes and if so a break-up of employee pharmacists and owners

  7. Jonesy
    25/04/2017

    There is no gender pay gap in favour of males.

  8. William
    26/04/2017

    “The ATO data also shows the taxable income for those identified as ‘Company rep. – medical and pharmaceutical products; Sales representative – medical and pharmaceutical products’.”
    These figures do not state how many hours these representatives have to work and often includes many hours at weekends and at nights and heavy performance pressures.

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