Signs of a weakening pharmacist job market
Daniel L. Brown, PharmD, is a professor and director of faculty development at Palm Beach Atlantic University's Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy in West Palm Beach, Fla. He has more than 35 years of academic and professional experience, including hospital pharmacy management and teaching positions at four other pharmacy schools.
For years, Brown has warned that the flood of new pharmacy schools and the expansion of existing ones would create an oversupply of pharmacists and decrease salaries. His opinion is not unique, but it is unusual coming from a pharmacy school executive.
Drug Topics recently spoke with Brown about the proliferation of pharmacy schools and their effect on the pharmacy job market.
DT: There is disagreement over whether there is or will be an oversupply of pharmacists. If there is an oversupply, what is the biggest factor driving it?
Brown: The Aggregate Demand Index (ADI) indicates that pharmacist supply is close to demand, but it is based on employer feedback. Unfortunately, there is no comparable measure derived from job-seeker feedback.
My own observations as a former dean suggest that prior to 2009, almost all pharmacy students had jobs lined up at least six months before graduation, but those days are over. A study conducted in 2013 by eight schools in the Midwest queried pharmacy students about their plans four weeks before graduation. Of the 783 respondents, 81% had a job or post-graduate training program lined up, but 16% had not found employment and 3% had not started looking.