Retirees and part-timers to shrink R.Ph. Ranks

May 8, 2006

The pharmacist shortage could get worse in the next decade as moremen put down their spatulas in favor of retirement and more men andwomen opt for part-time work, according to a study commissioned bythe Pharmacy Manpower Project.

The pharmacist shortage could get worse in the next decade as more men put down their spatulas in favor of retirement and more men and women opt for part-time work, according to a study commissioned by the Pharmacy Manpower Project.

The profession's male-female balance continues to tip toward women, who accounted for 46% of practicing pharmacists in 2004, according to the 2004 National Pharmacist Workforce Study conducted by the Midwest Pharmacy Workforce Research Consortium. The survey of 1,470 practicing pharmacists found that 42% of the women are aged 39 and younger, compared with 41% of male pharmacists aged 55 and older.

In addition to the graying of the male cohort into retirement age, about 30% of all actively practicing R.Ph.s worked part-time in 2004. Nearly 27% of women and 15% of men opted for 30 hours or less per week. About 30% of women between the ages of 31 and 50 work part-time, while about 46% of men age 60 or older put in part-time hours.

Nearly half of pharmacists reported that their workload was high. Inadequate staffing and interruptions were the biggest stress producers, especially for chain, mass-merchandiser, and hospital pharmacists.

One indicator that did move upward was hourly wages. The nominal wage growth between 2000 and 2004 was 38% for both full-time and part-time pharmacists. But in 2004, men working full-time averaged $45.56, compared with $43.47 for women.