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Community Pharmacy: The Big Picture

November 4, 2019 0 Comments

The Community Pharmacy sector plays an important role in the supply of prescription and permitted non-prescription-based medicine and the information about health care services to the general public.

Community Pharmacy: The Big Picture

Overview of the Community Pharmacy

Community Pharmacist Jobs Outlook

Industry Insights on Skills Needed

Overview of the Community Pharmacy

Pharmacies offer diverse career options in both a traditional setting such as community pharmacy and hospital pharmacy, but also in a non‐traditional setting such as working as a pharmacy investor and pharmacy regulator.

As we mentioned, they play a crucial role in the Health Care sector through the supply of a variety of medicines as well as information and education about services to the general public.

Even more so, in regional and remote communities these pharmacies play a a key role in providing local residents with quick access to health services otherwise difficult to access from their distance and location.

Pharmacy careers guide

Source: Pharmacy careers guide – Pharmaceutical Society of Australia

The Pharmacies Career Guide published by the Pharmaceutical Society in Australia suggested that community pharmacies for new graduates were the most popular option in recent years. 

Because of the various important activities done in the community pharmacy sector, the job positions can be varied and include:

  1. Pharmacy assistants
  2. Senior pharmacy assistants
  3. Front of pharmacy supervisors
  4. Pharmacy stock controllers
  5. Dispensary assistants/technicians
  6. Pharmacy technicians
  7. Retail managers – Pharmacy

According to the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Australia’s system for community pharmacy and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) has been recognised as “world-leading”. Some key points from the report are:

Overview – There are approx 5,700 community pharmacies in Australia with an average of 440 million individual patient visits a year and 99% of the dispensed PBS prescriptions are claimed electronically online.

Workforce – Community pharmacies employ approx 80,000 staff in Australia. Interestingly, nearly 80% of the total workforce are women and two-thirds of all the 30,000 registered pharmacists in Australia are working in community pharmacies.

Additional Roles – For community pharmacists, medicines adherence is a crucial aspect of their roles. It is estimated there are around 230,000 hospitalisations a year due to medication-related issues, and this costs the healthcare system around $1.2 billion a year. Community pharmacists in all States and Territories can also provide vaccinations after completion of training.

Customers Outlook – Annually, there are around 440 million individual patient visits to pharmacies. In capital cities, 95% of consumers live less than 2.5 km from a pharmacy. In regional areas, 72% of people live less than 2.5 km of a pharmacy.

Antibiotics - Printed Diagnosis with Blurred Text. On Background of Medicaments Composition - Red Pills, Injections and Syringe.

Community Pharmacist Jobs Outlook

Based on a national industries insights report for Community Pharmacies, the top 5 roles in demand in the Community Pharmacy are:

  • Pharmacy Sales Assistant
  • Sales Representatives
  • Sales Assistant (General)
  • Retail Manager (General)
  • Retail Supervisor

The role of Pharmacy Sales Assistant has been used as a base benchmark for the employment trends of the Community Pharmacy sector.  They accounted for more than 40% of the Pharmaceutical, Cosmetic and Toiletry Goods Retailing workforce.

The Community Pharmacy sector has a workforce of 41,400 pharmacy sales assistants and generated $18.4 billion in revenue for the 2018-19 period. This is an increase from $16.3 billion in 2016-17.

Pharmacy Sales Assistant Employment Projection

Source: Employment Projection – extracted from National Industry Insights

Between 2012 and 2018, the employment level for Pharmacy Sales Assistants heavily fluctuated regardless of the upwards trend during the whole period. 

This employment level is predicted to increase to approximately 42,400 by 2023, suggesting a similar trend for the Community Pharmacy sector in the near future. 

Team of pharmacists using computer at the hospital pharmacy

Industry Insights on Skills Needed

Additionally to the in-demand list of roles in Community Pharmacies, the National Industry Insights suggested the below skills to be a Top priority for pharmacists: 

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Problem solving
  • Critical thinking and resilience
  • Stress tolerance and flexibility
  • Soft skills 

According to the job vacancy data, among the most requested skills by employers in the Community Pharmacy sector were also communication skills and a consistent attention to detail. 

The most advertised positions were for the Pharmacy Sales Assistant followed by the Sales Representative.

The Industry Developments and Workforce Challenges report highlighted last year that there is a strong need in the Community Pharmacy sector for more qualified and skilled dispensary technicians as well as pharmacy assistants.

These shortages are reportedly a result of continuous staff turnover and the expansion of Pharmacy services. It is believed that long working hours and low pay are two of the biggest contributing factors to the turnover. 


What do you think about the jobs outlook for the Community Pharmacy sector? We would love to hear from you.

Let us know by scheduling a call Today with our friendly consultants Sean Kelly and Alyssa Bonfa find out more what pharmacist jobs in Australia he can discuss with you.

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