Magazine article Drug Topics

The New Stability (2011 Style)

Magazine article Drug Topics

The New Stability (2011 Style)

Article excerpt


Wage levels for pharmacists remain strong, but workload and stress levels are on the rise

F iading stability in an unstable economy can be difficult, but it seems that many pharmacists have done just that. Pharmacists report low unemployment rates, high salaries, and high job satisfaction at a time when many industries are struggling with layoffs and budget cuts. But the perks of being a pharmacist don't come without stress.

The Drug Topics 201 1 salary survey was emailed to Drug Topics' readers the week of Feb, 7, and 1,187 pharmacists across the country responded to questions covering average salaries, raises, workload, and job satisfaction The results tell the story of a stable industry with mostly satisfied employees, whether in the chain, independent, or hospital setting, but this year both workload and stress levels appear to be on the rise.

Based on the survey findings, it appears that work hours for most pharmacists aren't overly demanding. The majority (70%) report working between 30 and 44 hours each week, with just 1 5% logging more than 45 hours a week.

Job settings vary for respondents, who report employment at independent pharmacies (17%), chain pharmacies (30%), hospitals (19%), discount stores or supermarkets (17%), or other settings such as specialty pharmacy, nursing homes, HMO/PPO, and mail order (16%).

When it comes to financial rewards, most pharmacists (59%) receive an hourly wage, with 65% reporting between $51 and $60 an hour. However, 17% of those surveyed earn less than $50 an hour and 18% receive more than $61 an hour.

Of salaried pharmacists, 72% said they earn between $101,000 and $140,000, with 19% earning salaries between $121,000 and $130,000 each year.

Pharmacists bring all levels of experience to the job. Years of experience reported by survey respondents ranged anywhere from 0 to 36 years; however, it seems that most pharmacists (69%) have at least 21 years or more on the job.

The survey also found that most (47%) carry the title of staff pharmacist, while 20% are pharmacy department managers, 8% are clinical pharmacists, 6% are directors of pharmacy, and 5% are store owners or partners.

Regardless of experience levels or job titles, pharmacists tend to believe their annual salaries are on par with the industry. Just over half (5 1 %) of pharmacists would consider their annual base salary "average," while 12% consider their yearly pay above average, 20% believe they are receiving rates below average, and 17% don't know where their salaries fall when compared to those of their peers.

Most pharmacists also believe their annual salaries are comparable, if not higher, than the salaries of employees new to the industry. Survey results indicate that 43% believe their salaries are similar to the starting salaries of new employees, 29% believe their yearly income is higher or much higher than starting salaries, 1 1 % believe they may be receiving less than the average starting salary, and 16% aren't sure.

There's no perceived gender gap in the pharmacy industry. Drug Topics found that 71% of respondents reported that they believe male and female employees in the same position receive the same pay,

Financial incentives

Annual salaries aren't the only way to boost an employee's yearly take-home pay and pharmacists are finding ways to drive their income up, In 2010, more than half (52%) of respondents said they also received some form of additional pay, whether it was from a bonus, commission, or profit-sharing program.

The amount of additional income each person received varied significantly, with some pharmacists earning more than others. According to the results, 20% received less than $1000 in additional income; 31% received somewhere between $1,000 and $2,999; 14% received somewhere between $3,000 and $4,999; 10% received somewhere between $5,000 and $6,999; and 10% received $15,000 or more. …

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