PGA Pharmacy Workforce Symposium

Guild to Convene Pharmacy Workforce Symposium

The Pharmacy Guild will convene a symposium of pharmacy education and industry stakeholders to consider pharmacy workforce issues into the coming decade and beyond.

The symposium, to be held at Canberra’s Realm Hotel on 10 August, follows the recent publication of the findings of a Pharmacy Workforce Planning Research Project funded under the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

There has been much industry discussion about the intake of pharmacy student numbers at universities and the ability of those students to find jobs when they complete their studies. It is extremely important to the Guild and all in the industry that policy makers have the best information available to make the right decisions about the pharmacy workforce into the future.

The research project, conducted by Human Capital Alliance, built on two previous studies of the pharmacy workforce initiated by the Guild. It identified current and ongoing workforce demands, implementing a comparatively simple Pharmacy Workforce Planning Model. The leader of the project, Mr Lee Ridoutt, will brief the symposium on the findings.

Running the model for the ‘best estimate’ scenario resulted in a forecast future labour market in 2025 in which supply is projected to grow at a compound rate of 3.2% (adding 11,237 FTE pharmacists to the workforce), and total demand at a rate of 2.4% (adding 7,654 FTE pharmacists to the demand for pharmacist labour). In other words, a sharp over supply of pharmacists.

The timing of the project meant the model did not take into account the impact of the recently signed Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement, or changes to the overseas pharmacist immigration criteria. These factors will form part of the discussion at the pharmacy workforce symposium.

With credible workforce projections now available, it is important for universities and the profession in general to take responsibility for planning decisions. Students taken on by university pharmacy schools must be assured that policy makers are doing everything possible to ensure their prospects of relevant and rewarding employment are high.

The symposium will bring together representatives from Government, university pharmacy schools, and peak industry bodies.