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    The Drug Topics 2017 Pharmacist Salary Survey

    As pharmacist salaries rise, so do demands.


    Attitudes and Compensation

    “Attitudes have been fairly uniform over the past few years,” Shanard-Koenders said. “I’m not hearing a ton of people, outside of state employees, complaining that they don’t make enough. You always have pharmacists who just do the job and those who are very invested and want the very best for their patients. There has always been that combination of attitudes.”

    Figure 3: SatisfactionThe consistency of those attitudes speaks more to the continuing dedication of pharmacists than to a consistent pharmacy environment. (See Figure 3.)

    The average base salary for pharmacists topped $100,000 for the first time in 2007. In 2017, 70% of respondents took home at least $120,000 annually and 14.6% earned more than $150,000. (See Figure 4.)

    While more than half of pharmacists reported getting a raise last year, this is a drop from past years. In 2008, 88% reported a raise and 90% expected a raise the next year. Only 58.5% of this year’s respondents expect a raise in 2018.

    Total compensation has also changed. In 2017, 43% of pharmacists received additional income such as bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing, but 43.2% reported receiving an additional $2,500 or less. In 2008, more than half of respondents, 55%, reported additional income and the average add-on was $5,766.

    The gap is even larger for pharmacists starting a new job. In 2017, fewer than 20% of respondents started a new job and only 2.6% reported getting a sign-on bonus. The 2008 survey did not show what percentage of pharmacists took a new position, but of those who did, 67% reported a sign-on bonus for an average of $8,000, 33% got relocation expenses, and 3% got a new car that year.

    Why the change? It may be because there are more pharmacists today than there are pharmacy jobs.

    “Ten year ago, there was a shortage of pharmacists,” Bertram said. “Now that we have so many pharmacy schools popping up there are too many pharmacists.”Figure 4: Annual base salary

    Slipping Job Satisfaction

    Job satisfaction is also slipping. In 2008, 9% of respondents said that they were extremely satisfied with their current position, 31% very satisfied, and 41% satisfied, a total of 81%. In 2017, those numbers decreased. (See Figure 3).

    On the unhappy side, 17 % of respondents said they were somewhat dissatisfied in 2008 and 2% were extremely dissatisfied. In 2017, 17.4% were somewhat dissatisfied and 7.5% extremely dissatisfied.

    This may be due to the number of new pharmacists as well. “Before the pharmacy school boom, the pressure was from pharmacists on employers,” Gossett said. “We were almost completely autonomous and we made our own decisions. But with the expansion of pharmacy schools flooding the market with new pharmacists, corporate has the upper hand. We have to come into line with every demand or they find a replacement. There are a lot of underemployed and unemployed pharmacists out there.”


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