Layoffs impacting Walmart pharmacy departments across the country set social media abuzz this week with former employees sharing news of their job losses.
Social media posters reported job losses for pharmacists, technicians, clerks, and pharmacy management positions. Stores in multiple states, including California, and Oklahoma, have reportedly been impacted.
On Facebook, some users expressed sadness, disappointment and anger at losing their positions, including 1 who claimed to have work for Walmart for 24 years. "I just know Mr. Sam would not be happy," the poster said, in reference to Walmart founder Sam Walton.
Another Facebook poster, from Southern California, said a local staff was "devastated" at the layoff of a pharmacy clerk who had been employed with the company more than 20 years.
In addition, a pharmacy manager that claimed on social media to have been terminated by Walmart this week said the layoff came after 20 years with the company. "Took vacation for a week, come back today and was told that script count was down so hours were cut, therefore leading to my position being eliminated. I also had a staff pharmacist terminated," the poster wrote.
In a statement released by Walmart's Global Communications department in response to the layoff reports, corporate officials said the company is actively working to place associates who were affected by the layoffs in other open positions.
“We are on a transformational journey on how we operate our pharmacies and serve our customers, investing in key growth areas to develop our business and associates. We are aligning our staffing with the demands of the business to consistently serve our customers now and in the future. As we continue to position our business, we are making some adjustments in health and wellness that will impact approximately 3% of our pharmacy associates,” the corporate statement said.
In a prepared statement, Ashley Gulyas, PharmD, Owner of Academy and Apothecary, a pharmacy recruiting and resume assistance service, discussed the problem of overstaffing in pharmacy and offered her professional advice.
“The staffing problem is much bigger than 1 pharmacist can fix alone. There are things that must be done to protect pharmacists' working conditions and ensure security but this shift in the industry will take years. In the meantime, more than likely you will need a job as a pharmacist to keep the wheels spinning," said Gulyas. "The first thing you can do is realize that being laid off is likely not personal, so pick yourself up and prepare yourself for the job market. You will need an absolutely perfect resume or CV, a very well written cover letter, a daily dedication to researching on the job boards, an updated and active LinkedIn profile, and networking. All of these activities should occupy most of your time."
Gulyas added that professional services can help update a resume, land interviews, and prepare for interviews.
Pharmacy professionals on social media also reacted to the reported layoffs with offers to assist those impacted.
"If any of you are in South Carolina, we desperately need techs who are willing to work at my hospital. (Charleston-based) Pediatrics, adult inpatient. We are literally begging good people to apply," one Facebook poster wrote in a pharmacy forum.
Karen Berger, PharmD
Karen Berger, PharmD, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 2001. She has worked in community pharmacies for over 17 years as a Pharmacist in Charge, staff, and floater pharmacist for a large chain. Currently, she is a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy in Northern NJ. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org