Destination, future intentions and views on practice of British-based pharmacists 5 and 10 years after qualifying

  • Karen HassellEmail author
Research Article



The first ever Pharmacy Workforce Census of pharmacists in Great Britain (GB) was conducted in 2002, and repeated in 2003. Both census surveys aimed to gather empirical data on the employment profile of pharmacists to aid the workforce planning process. The aim of this paper is to compare the work profile and employment destination of two graduate cohorts of pharmacists to explore what changes take place in employment practices and how quickly they occur.


GB-based pharmacists.


A two-page postal questionnaire was sent to 38,000 GB-registered pharmacists in August 2003, to provide various data on employment patterns, intentions to work abroad, and desire to practise pharmacy. The pharmacists were contacted using addresses stored on the Pharmaceutical Register, a statutory record of all pharmacists and␣pharmacy premises held by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB). A sub-set of this large data set—pharmacists who qualified in 1992 and those who qualified in 1997—was selected for comparison.

Main outcome measure

Sector of employment and strength of desire to practice.


A response rate of 75% was achieved for the overall census, while the response rate from the two graduation cohorts was 62% and 58%. Larger proportions of women compared with men, even after only 5 years of working as a pharmacist, are either not working or work part-time. Among the women, these patterns increase significantly for those with a greater number of years on the Pharmaceutical Register. There is evidence that pharmacists move out of the two main sectors of practice (hospital and community) with increasing years on the Register, and some gender differences in job mobility are observed. The School of Pharmacy from which pharmacists graduate appears to have some effect on practice patterns although more research is needed to explore this further. Desire to practise pharmacy is weaker among those practitioners who work in the community sector of practice, and younger pharmacists are more likely to intend working abroad.


Part-time work patterns are implemented fairly quickly after qualifying, particularly among the women pharmacists. Given that female students account for over 60% of all intake onto pharmacy courses current supply problems will continue if work patterns continue along this trajectory. The ability of the profession to meet current, never mind extended roles, is thus called␣into question.


Employment characteristics Future intentions Gender Great Britain Pharmacy workforce Work profile 



The research was funded by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Pharmacy Workforce Studies, The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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