Pharmacists Are Happy With Their Salaries, Less So With Their Jobs, Survey Shows (Part 1)

JANUARY 12, 2019
Caitlin Mollison
Pharmacists are mostly happy with their compensation, but rated their job satisfaction levels lower in a recent Pharmacy Times Salary and Job Satisfaction Survey.

When asked on a scale of 1 to 7 (with 1 being "not at all" and 7 being "extremely"), how satisfied they are with their current annual total compensation, of 290 pharmacist respondents to that question, about 62% answered 5, 6, or 7.

But, when asked how they would rate their current overall job satisfaction on that same scale, of 273 pharmacist respondents to that question, only about 51% answered 5, 6, or 7.

Some of the top reasons given for their dissatisfaction were workload, management, and work/life balance.

One respondent, Heejun Woo, PharmD, answered a 6 for both questions, writing in an email interview that he wished he had started working for his employer earlier.

“I started with my current employer about 6 months after graduation, but if I could do it again, I would have started right after graduation,” wrote Woo, who is a market pharmacist at a Walgreens in San Antonio, Texas.

In the survey, he rated his colleagues as a top driver of job satisfaction and the administrative burden as the top driver of dissatisfaction.

Another survey respondent, David Randall Ratcliff, RPh, rated his satisfaction levels 6 and 7 for compensation and for his job overall, respectively.

Ratcliff, who is the pharmacist in charge at Petal (Mississippi) Drug Company and has worked in the profession for more than 20 years, wrote in an email interview that his top 3 drivers of job satisfaction are the facility where he practices, patient interactions, and pride in what he does.

One thing he would do over, if he could, is “I wish I would have had the opportunity to have purchased my own pharmacy much earlier in my career instead of working for the chains.”

Ratcliff, who said in the survey that he spends more than 20 hours a week filling and verifying prescriptions, wrote in the email that he wished he could spend his working hours on “patient interactions – period!”

Meanwhile, Whitney Rogers, PharmD, BCPS, a clinical pharmacist at North Oaks Medical Center in Hammond, Louisiana, wrote in an email interview that she wishes “I would have negotiated a merit increase upon attainment of my BCPS certification. I recently transitioned into a role within our medical and surgical intensive care units and am preparing to sit for my BCCCP exam for the spring 2019 testing cycle. I plan to discuss a potential increase in salary, if achieved.”

Rogers, who rated her satisfaction with her a salary 4 on the 1-to-7 scale, also wrote that she wishes she could spend her working hours practicing in critical care medicine as part of an interdisciplinary team.

The 593 respondents to the survey, who answered at least some of the questions, are an eclectic group. About 74% have been licensed pharmacists for a year or more, 98% are employed, 87% of those are employed in the United States, and 98% earned the pharmacy degrees in the United States.

They graduated from pharmacy schools such as those at Rutgers University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Washington.

About 42% work in community pharmacy chain stores, while 31% work in health systems, and 10% are employed by independent pharmacies. They work all over the United States, including Aiken, South Carolina; Baltimore, Maryland; Carmichael, California; New Brunswick, New Jersey; and Seattle, Washington.

Next month, in part 2 of Pharmacists are Happy With Their Salaries, Less So With Their Jobs, Survey Shows, we drill down into how survey respondents view their compensation levels.