There has been concern about a “graduate oversupply” in the Australian pharmaceutical industry – simply, too many pharmacy graduates for the number of jobs available. However, things are not as grim as many believe.
Pharmacy Jobs for Graduates in Sydney
Fast forward a decade on, the 2019 Graduate Outcomes Survey found that Pharmacy undergraduates had the highest rate of full-time employment, with 95.7 percent of graduates securing full-time jobs – this was followed by Rehabilitation (92.4 percent), Medicine (91.1 percent) and Dentistry (86.2 percent) students. It is a growing industry, according to statistics from Job Outlook Australia, as the number of pharmacists is projected to grow from 25,500 in 2018 to 27,400 by 2023. Furthermore, in a survey of pharmacists and interns conducted in 2018 by scholars at The University of Canberra and the Queensland University of Technology, 49 percent of 306 respondents shared that their current positions had been secured within a single month.
However, for students seeking jobs in pharmacy, it is important to recognise the gaps in employment, and where alternative opportunities exist. Regional areas, for example, have a high demand for retail and hospital pharmacists, with job vacancies in this area particularly difficult to fill.
Career pathways for Pharmacy students
While many pharmacy students tend to fixate on a straightforward career path to becoming hospital and community pharmacists, it is useful to remember there are many alternative pathways, which include but are not limited to:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services Pharmacist
- General Practice Pharmacist
- Pharmacist Diabetes Educator
- Medication Management Review Pharmacist
- Pharmacy Owner
- Defence Force Pharmacist
- Professional Services Pharmacist
- Research Scientist (medical)
- Industrial Pharmacist
Requirements for a career in pharmacy
Additionally, there are several experiences and qualifications that graduates should equip themselves with in preparation for employment in pharmacy. These include:
- Registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and Pharmacy Board of Australia
*Pharmacists who are practising within Australia are required to have registered with the Pharmacy Board of Australia. To be eligible for registration, practitioners must have completed an approved program of study, internship, written and oral examinations, and engage in continuing professional development (CPD).
- Completion of an intern training program:
Intern training programs allow graduates to apply their clinical knowledge to practical use under the supervision of an approved practice. Before doing this, one is required to apply for provisional registration from the Pharmacy Board of Australia.
- Joining the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) to network and connect with industry professionals:
Joining the PSA is a great way to connect with like-minded people within the industry who can provide ongoing support to each other. They host a range of networking events and conferences, and also offer their very own Intern Training Program for aspiring pharmacists.
What do employers look for in a graduate?
And finally, to answer this age-old question:
According to a survey conducted by the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business in June 2019, employers were more inclined to hire applicants who had:
- “A bachelor degree in Pharmacy or equivalent
- “Full registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
- “Unrestricted authority to practice as a pharmacist”
On the other hand, common characteristics of unsuccessful applicants included:
- “Lack of tertiary qualifications or AHPRA registrations
- “Insufficient length of work experience
- “Lack of relevant and specialised experience in hospital or retail pharmacy
- “Lack of technical skills
- “Poor communication skills and applications
- “Work preference”
So, when you’re looking into future career prospects in the pharmaceutical industry, make sure to equip yourself with as many necessary skills and qualifications as possible, and don’t forget to consider the alternative pathways that could be a good- if not better- fit for you.
Gorilla Jobs can assist you with exploring a variety of job opportunities across our large network of clients looking for qualified staff. Our experienced consultants in the Doctor, Medical Imaging and Pharmacy divisions look forward to helping you.
Speak to one of our Senior Consultants today and find out how they can help you with your career in 2020. We also have more useful tips and fun facts on our Gorilla Jobs Blogs.
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