Results of the 2016 Pharmacist Compensation Survey are in and the picture is not uniformly positive. Most pharmacists got a raise in 2016 and most expect to get a raise in 2017. Most are satisfied with their jobs. But most are feeling a sharp increase in job-related stress.
“Job stress has gone up exponentially since I graduated from pharmacy school 11 years ago,” said Mahmoud Zegar, PharmD, a chain pharmacy manager in the greater Chicago area. “Until the past year or two, I would strongly recommend that people consider pharmacy as a career. Now I’m not so sure there is a resounding ‘yes, go and pursue it.’ Unless there is some major change in retail pharmacy, I don’t see pharmacy as a long term viable career.”
Dr. Zegar is not alone in his doubts about the long-term viability of pharmacy practice. All of the pharmacists Drug Topics talked with had similar reservations. Chain pharmacy manager, chain pharmacist, independent, hospital pharmacist. . . all were satisfied with compensation and working conditions. And all said increasing job stress is making for an uncertain future.
“Upper management is recognizing our value, so we are moving into new areas,” said hospital pharmacy director Clint Pentz, PharmD. “In addition to dispensing, there are more clinical initiatives, more protocols that allow pharmacists to adjust doses, patient satisfaction, transition of care and more. It’s exciting stuff, but nothing is being taken off my plate and I’m not getting any more FTEs. Figuring out how to make it all work is exciting and challenging, but also tremendously stressful.”
A total of 3,085 pharmacists responded to the latest Pharmacist Compensation Survey. Responses were weighted toward the Southeast (29.9%) and Midwest (26.8%). Another 19.7% of respondents were from the Southwest, 18.1% from the Northeast and 4.8% from the Northwest. Just 1.5% of respondents were outside the United States.
Most respondents were female (58.9%) under 40 years old (58.2%). Another 18.1% were between 40 and 49, 13.9% were 50 to 59, 6.4% were 60 to 64, and 3.4% were 65 or older.
The vast majority of respondents, 86.1%, were employed full time and 9.9% were employed part time. The remainder were divided between unemployed (1.9%), other (1.4%), contract employee (0.5%), and temporary employee (0.3%).