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Analysis reveals workforce patterns across sectors: community colleagues least satisfied

Pharmacists working in the community are the least satisfied with their jobs compared with colleagues in other sectors of the profession, according to the results of workforce research published yesterday (1 December 2008) by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

This group was also more likely to be considering reducing their working hours than their peers working in other sectors, it found. A third of all pharmacists involved in the study reported that they had increased their working hours between 2002 and 2005.

Job dissatisfaction among community pharmacists was highlighted as a concern by the researchers because the sector is the main employer of pharmacists in the UK.

However, primary care pharmacists and those working in academia and industry were the most likely to be considering a move to another sector of the profession, according to the report “An analysis of the RPSGB’s census and register data 2002–2006”.

Primary care pharmacists were also more likely than community pharmacists to consider moving away from direct patient care.
The desire to leave the profession all together was stronger among those working in academia and industry than those in the community, the research found.

Male pharmacists, especially those aged under 29 years, were more likely to consider leaving the profession than their female colleagues. Lack of money, lack of variety in their work and little recognition for their work efforts were identified as the main reasons behind thinking about quitting.

The report says the desire for young male pharmacists to leave could suggest “dissatisfaction with the sector chosen . . . or with the role of the pharmacist itself at this very early stage of their pharmacy career.”

Female pharmacists, regardless of where they work, had the greatest job satisfaction and were committed to the profession compared with their male colleagues, the research found.

Pharmacists working in primary care were more likely to have a portfolio career compared with those working elsewhere and this group was also more likely to have increased their working hours since 2002 and to have moved sector during that time.

This finding, the report authors say, suggests “dynamic working patterns among this group of pharmacists” and could either reflect the youth of the sector or the organisational changes that were also taking place.

Ownership of community pharmacy was more likely among Asian pharmacists and those from all backgrounds who work in Scotland and Wales.

Male pharmacists were also more likely than their female colleagues to own their own pharmacy or work as locums. A “significant” proportion of women pharmacists are now deciding to return to work after maternity leave and more women work as pharmacy managers than men.

The results of the workforce study are based on the findings of a longitudinal study led by Karen Hassell, of the centre for pharmacy workforce studies at the University of Manchester. It considered the Society census data from 2002, 2003 and 2005 and the annual analysis of the register of pharmacists from 2002 and 2006.

Commenting on the study, the Society’s head of research and development Sue Ambler said: “The analysis of workforce data provides important up-to-date information that enables the Society to plan effectively for the future support of the profession.”

The Society’s 2008 census will provide valuable information because it will span five years, she added. “Theoretically this should capture the impact of crucial policy initiatives such as the implementation of the contractual framework for community pharmacy on pharmacy workforce patterns.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 10041038

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