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ASHP: Students Concerned with Pharmacy Job Market

Kate H. Gamble, Senior Editor
Published Online: Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pharmacy students and recent graduates are having more difficulty finding a job or residency and are concerned about the job market, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

The survey was conducted to assess ASHP student and new practitioner members’ attitudes and experiences with the current pharmacist job market.

Some of the key findings were as follows:
  • 2011 pharmacy school graduates started their job searches earlier and applied for more positions and residencies than peers who graduated in previous years.
  • 70% of pharmacy students who expect to graduate in 2014 or after are worried about finding jobs or residencies, compared with 81% of those graduating in 2012.
  • 77% of pharmacy students who expect to graduate in 2014 or after are worried about finding a residency after they graduate, compared with 85% of those graduating in 2012.
  • 51% of pharmacy students who expect to graduate in 2014 or after are worried about finding a job after completing a residency, compared with 68% of those graduating in 2012.
  • 95% of 2010 pharmacy school graduates, and 84% of those expecting to graduate in 2014, agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “I am concerned that the supply of pharmacists is outpacing the demand for pharmacists and will impact my future.”
  • More 2011 graduates reported difficulty finding residencies (and finding them in their practice areas and geographic locations) than did previous graduates.
Data from the survey suggest that students and new practitioners are concerned about the current pharmacist job market, which is influenced by a variety of factors, including the global economy and perceptions of the impact of pharmacy school expansion.

The news, however, wasn’t all bleak. The survey also showed that opportunities exist for new graduates, including completing residencies and finding positions that offer unique and enriching experiences. In addition, most respondents reported that they are content with where they currently are in their career, and most view their choice of pharmacy as a career in a positive light.

“It will be important for these findings to be used in constructive ways to help the pharmacy profession identify mechanisms to best meet the current and future needs of the US health care system through an appropriate supply of pharmacists,” said ASHP President Stanley S. Kent, MS, FASHP, in a statement.

ASHP stated that it will continue to repeat this survey, and will use it to inform efforts such as the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative, the Pharmacy Workforce Center, developing pharmacy residency capacity, and various other efforts aimed at ensuring that there is an adequate supply of pharmacists to serve on interdisciplinary teams throughout the continuum of care.
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