Low pharmacy wages: how we’re working towards improvement

Pharmacy Wages: A Contentious Topic in the Industry

It’s easy to see why pharmacy wages continue to be a contentious topic, particularly among pharmacy students. 2021 data revealed that pharmacy graduates are among the lowest paid in Australia, with a starting median salary of just $48,000. According to the Professional Pharmacists Australia report, “Community and Hospital Pharmacists Employment and Remuneration Report 2019-20”, pharmacy graduates continue to be some of the poorest paid graduates in Australia. For multiple years in a row the commencing rates of pay for pharmacists have been the lowest of any study area.

Challenges in the Pharmacy Sector: Low Pay and Stress

And as if that wasn’t enough, the report states that “poor pay, stress and a lack of support, particularly amongst the discount chains, continues to ferment a crisis in the sector that will see talented individuals abandon pharmacy for greener pastures.”

Our Approach to Improving Pharmacy Wages

As an organisation passionate about fostering the next generation of pharmacists and providing support to locums and pharmacies, this is a worrying trend. But it’s one we’re actively working to combat.

Empowering Locums: Taking Control of Pharmacy Wages

With a generally low Pharmacy Industry award, we believe in giving locums the ability to set their own rates, taking into account their scope, experience, market rate, and preference. We believe that empowering locums – no matter how much experience they have – means that they’ll be more satisfied, while pharmacies will have better transparency and oversight of how much a locum charges.

Towards a Tiered Approach to Setting Pharmacy Wages

But that’s just the start. We’re working on the functionality to deliver a tiered approach to setting rates. That is, a locum will be able to select a rate attached to clear outcomes and expectations. So an administrative based pharmacy shift might be lower than a customer-facing shift. This benefits the pharmacy, too. A pharmacy will be able to budget according to the work and the type of locum they require, while having a clear understanding of expectations.

Future of Pharmacy Wages: Our Commitment

We’ve only just started exploring and working towards this feature, but it’s on the horizon and we’ll keep you posted every step of the way. We’re eager to be part of the conversation – and hopefully the solution – to improving wages in our sector.