Of those who reported an annual salary, 45.4% earned between $120,000 and $140,000 yearly-- the equivalent of $58 to $67 per hour for a 40-hour week
Of those who reported an hourly wage, 41.7% received $61 to $70 per hour
However, income and working hours are only part of the salary story. Geography plays a role. Chain pharmacist Sue Belcher, RPh, recently left southern Texas, near the Mexican border.
“I took a 27% pay cut coming to Illinois,” she said. “There are plenty of pharmacists in this part of the Midwest, which drives pharmacist pay down. In Texas, with the pharmacist making so much more, there was much less support staff. Here in Illinois, with pharmacist pay so depressed, there is more for support staff. But there is no money for staff training in either place, which creates problems for job satisfaction.”
The good news is that more than half of respondents, 54.5%, reported additional income such as commission, bonus or profit-sharing during 2016. And pharmacists enjoyed a wide variety of benefits
The storied days of five-figure signing bonuses are history. Most pharmacists who started a new job in 2016 reported no perks at all. Only 1.5% reported a sign-on bonus. The average bonus was $13,229, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. Just 0.9% got relocation expenses and 0.2% got a car. Some 1.2% reported other perks, ranging from “freedom from chain pharmacy hell” to stock, three weeks paid vacation instead of two weeks, full benefits for less than 40 hours of weekly work to higher hourly rates.
Job satisfaction looks good on the surface. Two-thirds of pharmacists, 67.1%, said they are not considering a job change within the next 12 months. But there are discomforting trends among the 32.9% of pharmacists who might change jobs.
Most, 67.4%, said they are dissatisfied with their current job. Pam Lipasek, RPh, a chain pharmacist in Indiana, is one of them.
“When I started at this store seven years ago, we had three pharmacists,” she explained. “Now we have a total of six hours of overlap maximum, but our prescription numbers and patient numbers continue to climb.”
Another 33.8% are looking for professional advancement while 23.8% want more income. Twenty-percent want another geographic location and 18.4% are seeking greater job security. A whopping 12.8% gave “other” reasons, ranging from bullying in the workplace to reduced working hours, lack of morale, and unrealistic corporate expectations.
“Everything you do today in a chain pharmacy is timed by your computers,” Lipasek continued. “The corporation dictates how quickly you have to finish every task. It’s not worth switching to another chain with the same constraints and a new system to learn. I’ve thought about moving to an independent pharmacy, but that’s not practical because there aren’t many of them left.”