Current Trends in the Pharmacy Job Market

Aimee Simone, Associate Editor

Although many pharmacists express concerns about the state of the pharmacy job market, the good news is the demand for pharmacists seems to be increasing.

Although many pharmacists express concerns about the state of the pharmacy job market, the good news is the demand for pharmacists seems to be increasing.

The Pharmacy Workforce Center provides a continuous measure of national-, regional-, and state-level demand, which is known as the aggregate demand index (ADI). In the ADI, demand is estimated on a 5-point scale, where 5 indicates high demand for pharmacists and 1 indicates there are many more pharmacists than available jobs.

In June 2014, the national demand for pharmacists was recorded at 3.51, up from 3.32 in May 2014 and 3.22 in June 2013. Demand was extremely high in some states for the first time in months, as it reached 5 on the ADI scale in Iowa and close to 5 in Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Alaska.

In addition, 48.8% of the population lived in a state with an ADI of 4, compared to 37.2% in the previous month. Although demand for pharmacists was lowest in Hawaii and Massachusetts, the ADI did not dip below a 2 in any state.

Regionally, the West had the highest ADI at 3.92, up from 3.59 in May 2014. The lowest demand was in the Northeast, though the ADI increased from May 2014 across all US regions.

Analyzing different practice settings, the latest ADI data showed the demand for community pharmacists increased from 2.91 in May 2014 to 3.10 in June 2014, while the demand for institutional pharmacists remained steady at 3.20. Demand reached 3.75 for integrated health systems with positions for both institutional and community pharmacists.

According to May 2013 data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health and personal care stores have the highest pharmacist employment levels, followed by general medical and surgical hospitals, grocery stores, department stores, and other general merchandise stores.

According to the BLS data, pharmacists earn an average annual wage of $116,500. Compared to others in the profession, those who work in general merchandise stores are paid the top annual mean salary of $125,240. Pharmacists who work in the warehousing and storage industry earn the second highest annual salary of $124,540, followed by those who work in physicians’ offices ($123,160), pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing ($122,010), and outpatient care centers ($121,420).

When analyzed by location, pharmacists in Alaska reap the highest average salary ($133,030), followed by California ($129,5600), Maine ($127,520), Vermont ($122,800), and Wisconsin ($122,800).