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    (Original post by Youngman2012)
    Hi Realistic Pharm,I was going to study Pharmacy but went for Mechanical Engineering at a top uni instead.I am due to graduate with no job offers. The market seems a lot worse than Pharmacy. I am looking at jobs in the region of 20k whereas a Pharmacist at Rowlands/Tesco/Sainsburys would be earning 35-40k as long as they are on the register. How can you say Pharmacy is worse off to prospective students? If you don't believe me look at job sites. Also I can guarantee jobs are more competitive and difficult to find as an Engineer with over 100 applicants per place on decent paying 25k graduate schemes.
    I went to a University which was dominated by a large engineering department, I've probably got as many engineer friends across mechanical, civil and electrical as I do fellow Pharmacists. What you're going through is giving me deja vu from my pre-reg year, when I left and went straight into my £19,000 a year pre-reg post, and was envied by the engineers who left to live with their parents. If it's any consolation, the people who used to claim I had it easy 5 years ago would certainly not look at my salary before I left community with envy, never mind what I earn now having left - what you're going through is pretty standard for engineers I think? Like any industry (even Pharmacy) it really is about getting your foot in the door, although it's only looking back that I realised this. Basically, engineers are the one 'Masters'+ profession that doesn't have the solid, predictable career path of health care and to some extent law. However in fifteen years time engineers are much closer to medics than they are Pharmacists.

    First, supermarket jobs are the arse end of the community world. You'll either be working from 7am or until 10/11pm every day, and whilst the salary looks ok it's usually for a 45+ hour week, plenty of newly qualified gets caught by this. Also, these are private companies, it'll say £35-99k 'depending on experience', so when you roll up with the ink on your RP certificate still wet you can consider yourself lucky if they make you an offer at £35k. This isn't the NHS with a pay band and guaranteed increments. If they think they can lowball you and save the money they will. The fact is like any profession, and especially any privately owned commercial company, most jobs in Pharmacy are not advertised externally. It's a mistake I used to make, thinking that 'Milkround' = the job market.

    Most students get jobs as a result of summer placements, same with pre-reg placements. Most Pharmacist jobs get given to existing employees and pre-reg students -if you're seeing a job advertised asking for a community Pharmacist, you either live in a very remote area, or it's an absolutely awful position where the salary looks poor when taken as an hourly rate (i.e. a supermarket).

    I've just had a quick browse of 'Milkround' and there are loads of jobs for high £20k and low £30k in 'Engineering and Manufacturing'. They might be for a crap position, in a part of the country no one wants to live in, or be undesirable for some other reason but...so are those Pharmacy jobs you posted. And 45 hours at £35k is the same pro-rata as £29,000 for the 37.5 hours most people think of as a 'working week'.

    Additionally, and this gets overlooked by EVERYONE when applying, and from what I hear from more senior colleagues, this has always been so - there is no career progression in community Pharmacy. Community Pharmacy is where the bulk of Pharmacists end up, and even in the good old days unless you left and opened your own store your salary might increase 15-20% across your entire career. It simply isn't possible to pick up the skills, or do anything really, as a Pharmacist to really justify more than a £8-10k premium for experience in community. Up until the mid 1990s opening your own business was a possibility, however control of entry requirements, the way that large multiples now completely control the supply chain, mean that the cost to buy or open a new Pharmacy is simply not possible for anyone. There are loads of ex-owner Pharmacists who sold up for a hefty premium in the early to mid 00s - the proportion of 'independently owned' Pharmacies has nosedived since then.

    That was a pretty huge route of career progression for Pharmacists (much like becoming a GP partner is for medics), now it's gone you've got the majority of the population who are looking at finishing their career in 30 years doing the exaxt same job, for if they are lucky 20% more than they get now. I don't know, but I'm willing to bet the person who takes a £30k engineering job will be earning a fair bit more than £36k in 30 years time....

    In short, I can say Pharmacists are struggling because they are. It's not really disputed that salaries are dropping pretty sharply, and the main crux of my ire was directed towards the way that Pharmacy schools still vastly overrepresent the salary to prospective students. People who choose Pharmacy are definitely influenced in part by the mythical £40k starting salary - I don't know what engineers expectations for their immediate future as graduates was. Additionally, any additional salary Pharmacists MAY have quickly erodes when you consider it pro-rata, and no Pharmacy job that anyone actually wants has ever been advertised in my 5-year career. Maybe in the olden days, but if you're on thr C+D or Milkround looking for jobs you are browsing the dregs of the market - these salaries include the premium this attracts in any industry. It also includes the premium Pharmacists have traditionally enjoyed to offset the fact that what you start on is pretty much what you'll finish on, and the normal idea of changing roles with increasing experience and having a corresponding increase in income and standard of living NEVER really existed for most Pharmacy graduates, and in this regard we've always been unique. Until 2011 we were a 'shortage profession', then that got taken away [and the 25% of every MPharm degree who are international students had glum faces] and that premium is eroded completely in every decent position that becomes free since then (this is simple supply and demand, but again a lot of information for Pharmacy students still seems based around the 'shortage' days, when for the last two years there are actually more students than pre-registration places, the first time this has ever happened, so it's reported].

    In short, all of the above ****, AND you work in a profession where you have your hands tied behind your back in terms of proving your clinical skill by the fact that it's a retail business, not a medical profession, in which advancing technology that means that anything but clinical skill is being automated. Oh and added to that the government control the total amount that your profession can earn in profit in a year (if you buy your drugs in too efficiently, and so make too much money, they reduce the amount paid in the Drug Tariff to make sure you only earn the pre-agreed amount of profit) so unlike most commercial professions you can't simply 'capitalism' your way out of trouble, add in massive artificial barriers to entry, and now the fact that the stated aim of the Government of the day is to put 25% of Pharmacies out of business.

    So even if there weren't all these other pressures on Pharmacy, the fact that the government has a stated aim of closing 25% of your businesses, and they entirely control the market so can easily do that, is the answer to why Pharmacy student's futures are worse than practically every other comparable degree.

    As I say, as an engineering student specifically, I think you're supposed to think Pharmacists 'have it easy', I certainly heard that a LOT in my first year out of Uni, and I think I might have even believed it for a while! No one thinks I'm lucky now, and no-one thinks anyone under 30 is fortunate in any regard as far as employment or housing goes..... So, for what it's worth from some exile Pharmacist on the internet, I wouldn't despair about your situation. The grass isn't greener in Pharmacy, it may be in other Masters degrees, but trust me 5 years out of Uni and no one has a range of careers as varied, personally fulfilling and in most cases financially lucrative as he engineers I know. It seems pulling your hair out for 6-18 months unless your Dad can get you a job is a rite of passage!
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    (Original post by AliRizzo)
    Interesting stuff but these posts are way too f*cking long can you please condense your replies ffs.
    I agree, but I'm not really sure of a way around it Pharmacy is f*cked by a number of coalescing storms - I wasn't writing a brief article for the Daily Express on life as Pharmacist, it's supposed to be a comprehensive overview of the issues facing the profession that I'd want as a prospective student. Some things which you could 'short hand' to actual Pharmacists needs a bit of elaboration to 17-year olds considering their options so you can understand why it's significant. 17 year old me didn't know the intricacies of the RP law, the business model of retail Pharmacies, or how increasing automation is likely to have an even bigger impact than you could imagine.

    To be honest the whole thing would probably be much easier to convey as a spider diagram. Apologies if it's too verbose.
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    (Original post by AliRizzo)
    Interesting stuff but these posts are way too f*cking long can you please condense your replies ffs.
    This guy is explaining this SO well, for free, in a way that your career's teacher or university admissions tutor NEVER will!
    So spend a bit of time and read it, then read it again, then if you're a 6th former, get down your local High street and go talk to the pharmacists there. Go to Boots, Lloyds, Tesco, Mr Bloggs, the independent non-chain guy. Ask their opinions! Then come back and tell us what they say. Please! If you're already a pharmacy student. Keep going, get on the register, but then think hard. Don't get caught up in community, cos it's going down! I'm on the same money I was on in 2008. Now factor in inflation. It's not pretty. Now look at house prices. I'm not going to regurgitate everything this guy has said, but as another opinion, from someone who doesn't know him, he's right! Unfortunately. I really wish he wasn't.
    I'm too old to retrain. I'm stuck in it. What we're both trying to say is, this is the reality, here are the facts, this is the likely future. Start making appropriate plans. Poo poo him if you want, but I suggest you save this, and come back and read it in 20 yrs, see if he is right.
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    (Original post by mrlittlebigman)
    This guy is explaining this SO well, for free, in a way that your career's teacher or university admissions tutor NEVER will!
    So spend a bit of time and read it, then read it again, then if you're a 6th former, get down your local High street and go talk to the pharmacists there. Go to Boots, Lloyds, Tesco, Mr Bloggs, the independent non-chain guy. Ask their opinions! Then come back and tell us what they say. Please! If you're already a pharmacy student. Keep going, get on the register, but then think hard. Don't get caught up in community, cos it's going down! I'm on the same money I was on in 2008. Now factor in inflation. It's not pretty. Now look at house prices. I'm not going to regurgitate everything this guy has said, but as another opinion, from someone who doesn't know him, he's right! Unfortunately. I really wish he wasn't.
    I'm too old to retrain. I'm stuck in it. What we're both trying to say is, this is the reality, here are the facts, this is the likely future. Start making appropriate plans. Poo poo him if you want, but I suggest you save this, and come back and read it in 20 yrs, see if he is right.
    I'm no berating him at all, it's great information but unfortunately other people may be put off by the amount of information being regurgitated. Information should be condensed and specific. I think it's great that he's writing this stuff, information like this has already helped me in the past and I'm grateful for it.
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    Thanks for your honest input.
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    (Original post by Youngman2012)
    Hi Realistic Pharm,I was going to study Pharmacy but went for Mechanical Engineering at a top uni instead.I am due to graduate with no job offers. The market seems a lot worse than Pharmacy. I am looking at jobs in the region of 20k whereas a Pharmacist at Rowlands/Tesco/Sainsburys would be earning 35-40k as long as they are on the register. How can you say Pharmacy is worse off to prospective students? If you don't believe me look at job sites. Also I can guarantee jobs are more competitive and difficult to find as an Engineer with over 100 applicants per place on decent paying 25k graduate schemes.
    I find it funny when people slam pharmacy like other career prospects are any better. There are too many graduates in all sectors, everyone is suffering. Not just pharmacists. Recently, I have been seeing job advertisements for pharmacists in GP surgeries. So things are not as bad or rather, there is a chance that things may improve. My friend studied computer science and is strugggggggling to find a job. Upon all I have read, pharmacy is still a good, solid career. I'd pick a regulated career any day, anytime.
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    (Original post by neldee95)
    I find it funny when people slam pharmacy like other career prospects are any better. There are too many graduates in all sectors, everyone is suffering. Not just pharmacists. Recently, I have been seeing job advertisements for pharmacists in GP surgeries. So things are not as bad or rather, there is a chance that things may improve. My friend studied computer science and is strugggggggling to find a job. Upon all I have read, pharmacy is still a good, solid career. I'd pick a regulated career any day, anytime.

    I suggest you re-read this thread from the beginning and the very good explanation that RealisticPharm has given. Also see my post history for examples of how wages are falling. If you don't care about money, then yes, do pharmacy. it's a great degree. And yes, there is this new scheme of GP practice pharmacists but that's only as there is a shortage of GPs.
    Basically, there are too many schools of pharmacy. When I went into pharmacy 25 yrs ago, there were 15, now there are 29. In my year there was 70 of us, Now there are probably 170! Student numbers aren't capped like in medicine and dentistry. Universities are businesses now. They want your 9k and as many bums on seats as possible. This will continue to cause wages to stagnate and fall. I've been on £23 an hour since 2008. A chain that used to pay me that in 2012 now pays me £19/20. A chain that paid me £19 an hour in 2011. Now pays £14/15. Wages are going down! Plus don't forget EU pharmacists.
    Pharmacy is now controlled by just a few big companies and they want to minimise their wage bill to maximise profits, just as any company will. If there is a steady stream of new labour then if you are a problem or can't cope, they will ''performance manage'' you out and replace you with another bright eyed bushy tailed newly qualified. 20 yrs ago there was a shortage of pharmacists so the wages were high to attract people to do the work. They don't need to do this anymore. They will pay the least they can get away with.
    You probably think I'm old and past it, fair enough, but pay attention to RealisticPharm and read his posts. He is only late 20s, about 28. Plus, don't just believe us, go and talk to pharmacists on your local High st. Please msg me and tell me what they say.
    Regarding GP pharmacist jobs, a friend of mine has just taken one, and taken a 30% salary cut from Boots to do it. This is because she wants to reduce her hours and her stress and she has 20 yrs experience. Now if you are a GP, are you going to take on someone a couple of yrs out if Uni, or someone who has been in pharmacy for 20 yrs plus?! The Unis will sell you this wonderful future but as Realisticpharm tells you if you read his thread, this is how he was fooled 10 yrs ago as an 18yr old!
    From my experience of having pharmacy students and pre-regs around over the yrs, they all seem very much into the money aspect. Hence why I quote my locum rates and salaries over the years. Pharmacy is not the place where you will make your fortune anymore. The assistant manager in Aldi is probably earning more than a new pharmacist.
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    (Original post by mrlittlebigman)
    Pharmacy is not the place where you will make your fortune anymore. The assistant manager in Aldi is probably earning more than a new pharmacist.
    *Community Pharmacy?
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    (Original post by propagation)
    *Community Pharmacy?
    Yes. Unless of course someone in your family owns a pharmacy OR you have a very rich elderly relative who is going to leave you 500k - 1M £ !! (to buy one)
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    I don't mean to sound confrontational but aren't Practice Pharmacist roles opening up? And the current Pharmacists I know seem to be making a killing
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    Be sure to sign this, there is always hope!
    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/116943
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    Can you think of a job in the NHS similar to Pharmacy though? I want to do Pharmacy - I like it. There will always be a need. While I take all your points on board - What about a job in a hospital, in a clinical role? That's what I am aiming for after graduating hopefuly. I can't think of an alternative apart from Pharmacy to be honest which I have genuine interest in..
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    (Original post by mrlittlebigman)
    Very interesting! I've been saying this for a while now. But no-one seems to be taking any notice. Look at my post history for examples of locum rates.
    The whole 'clinical thing' is a joke. The chains have hijacked it all with targets. You get nowhere near enough staff for the workload you have, and the pay is falling and the stress is rising.
    It's a shame really as a pharmacy degree is interesting and varied. You could always do it and then apply to Aldi as an Assistant manager on 25/30k. Similar salary to community pharmacy and better prospects!
    I would be interested to hear from prospective and current pharmacy students what, you are told/promised about the future of community pharmacy from your Unis and work experience placements?

    If this is for the Trainee Area Manager grad scheme it's £40k + Audi rising to £70k in 4 years. You'll work your ass off for that wage though, probably pulling in investment banking hours. Not to mention having to go all hands on deck when the floor needs cleaning.

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    (Original post by Princepieman)
    If this is for the Trainee Area Manager grad scheme it's £40k + Audi rising to £70k in 4 years. You'll work your ass off for that wage though, probably pulling in investment banking hours. Not to mention having to go all hands on deck when the floor needs cleaning.

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    Yeah but the likelyhood of getting that must be absurd. For 150-200 roles, they must have thousands of applications
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    (Original post by Danny786)
    Yeah but the likelyhood of getting that must be absurd. For 150-200 roles, they must have thousands of applications
    Most likely. It's the same with any high paying grad job tbf.

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    (Original post by Youngman2012)
    I don't mean to sound confrontational but aren't Practice Pharmacist roles opening up? And the current Pharmacists I know seem to be making a killing
    Yes, but there won't be 3000 a yr to match the number of graduates.

    Can you define 'killing' please? I was earning 27k in 1996/7 for a 45hr week.
    Recent job offer 30k for a 45 hr week.
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    (Original post by Princepieman)
    If this is for the Trainee Area Manager grad scheme it's £40k + Audi rising to £70k in 4 years. You'll work your ass off for that wage though, probably pulling in investment banking hours. Not to mention having to go all hands on deck when the floor needs cleaning.

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    I've been in pharmacy for 25 yrs and I'm more than capable of sweeping the floor and putting the bins out at work. If you think you're too good for that kind of thing you will struggle to get on. The pharmacy students and pre-regs I deal with have little initiative.
    I agree with your other point though on hours.
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    (Original post by Danny786)
    Can you think of a job in the NHS similar to Pharmacy though? I want to do Pharmacy - I like it. There will always be a need. While I take all your points on board - What about a job in a hospital, in a clinical role? That's what I am aiming for after graduating hopefuly. I can't think of an alternative apart from Pharmacy to be honest which I have genuine interest in..
    Do it then!
    Just bear in mind it is going to be very competitive and you may have to move around the country to move on and up. If you're flexible and have few ties, you should be fine.
    I'm not so sure about the need though. Think robotics!
    If the govt. do manage to close 1000 to 3000 pharmacies over the next few yrs, then the people who would have worked in those, will all be applying to GPs and hospitals. Hence, competition!
    My argument isn't against a pharmacy degree, I enjoyed mine. I'm trying to get you to do what many don't, and think about what you are going to do at the end of it. And also in 5 to 10 yrs time.
    And recognise that it is not going to be as easy as it was in my day to secure a pre-reg and then a full time job. It is going to be very competitive. We do not need 3000 new grads a year. In my day in early 90s, there were less than half this.

    PS.
    Can I just clarify, I am NOT saying don't do pharmacy or if you are a pharmacy student, drop out. What I am saying, and RealisticPharm too, is think hard about what is happening in pharmacy in the real world right now. There are going to be 6% cuts, and probably more to follow. Upto 3000 pharmacies could close. The multiples are taking on less pre-reg students. There are EU pharmacists who can come here too. There are double the number of schools of pharmacy and graduates than there were 20 yrs ago.
    So think and plan. Are you flexible, are you willing to do a diploma and an IP course, maybe an MBA for management. Are you willing to move around the country for work. Remember technology and robotics. If you want to work hard and get on, you probably will. Just be aware of the many changes that are going to happen over the next 5,10,15 yrs and be prepared. If you're from a big city and want to stay there, then you will probably earn less than say, you are willing to work in a little chemist out in a remote area of the country.
    Finally, keep up to date, join chemist and druggist site, and pharmacy-forum, and the PJ site. Stay on top of what is happening on the area of pharmacy you want to go into and be willing to change your plans and ideas. Go to local practice forums and get known locally, network! Talk to older, more experienced pharmacists for advice. Good luck everyone!
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    Reading this thread has made me so, so happy I chose chemistry instead of pharmacy. Definitely dodged a bullet there.
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    (Original post by mrlittlebigman)
    Do it then!
    Just bear in mind it is going to be very competitive and you may have to move around the country to move on and up. If you're flexible and have few ties, you should be fine.
    I'm not so sure about the need though. Think robotics!
    If the govt. do manage to close 1000 to 3000 pharmacies over the next few yrs, then the people who would have worked in those, will all be applying to GPs and hospitals. Hence, competition!
    My argument isn't against a pharmacy degree, I enjoyed mine. I'm trying to get you to do what many don't, and think about what you are going to do at the end of it. And also in 5 to 10 yrs time.
    And recognise that it is not going to be as easy as it was in my day to secure a pre-reg and then a full time job. It is going to be very competitive. We do not need 3000 new grads a year. In my day in early 90s, there were less than half this.

    PS.
    Can I just clarify, I am NOT saying don't do pharmacy or if you are a pharmacy student, drop out. What I am saying, and RealisticPharm too, is think hard about what is happening in pharmacy in the real world right now. There are going to be 6% cuts, and probably more to follow. Upto 3000 pharmacies could close. The multiples are taking on less pre-reg students. There are EU pharmacists who can come here too. There are double the number of schools of pharmacy and graduates than there were 20 yrs ago.
    So think and plan. Are you flexible, are you willing to do a diploma and an IP course, maybe an MBA for management. Are you willing to move around the country for work. Remember technology and robotics. If you want to work hard and get on, you probably will. Just be aware of the many changes that are going to happen over the next 5,10,15 yrs and be prepared. If you're from a big city and want to stay there, then you will probably earn less than say, you are willing to work in a little chemist out in a remote area of the country.
    Finally, keep up to date, join chemist and druggist site, and pharmacy-forum, and the PJ site. Stay on top of what is happening on the area of pharmacy you want to go into and be willing to change your plans and ideas. Go to local practice forums and get known locally, network! Talk to older, more experienced pharmacists for advice. Good luck everyone!
    I would be willing to move as I have few ties and i would want to work in a hospital, whilst this would be very difficult to attain - the job security would be good right? Being a pharmacist in a hospital - there will ALWAYS be a need and they want applicants. That's the route and interest I have. I can't think of an alternative because I'm doing it because I actually like the course


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