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    So you're saying Pharmacy is in a bad state now or MIGHT be in the near future/future?

    Are are there any newly qualifieds/qualified Pharmacists in here to back up the statements of RealisticPharm and Mrlittlebigman?

    Having spoken to a few friends on the phone, it doesn't seem as bad as you're making it out to be.
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    (Original post by Youngman2012)
    So you're saying Pharmacy is in a bad state now or MIGHT be in the near future/future?

    Are are there any newly qualifieds/qualified Pharmacists in here to back up the statements of RealisticPharm and Mrlittlebigman?

    Having spoken to a few friends on the phone, it doesn't seem as bad as you're making it out to be.
    Same! My cousin works in ASDA as a pharmacy manager. She has been a pharmacist since 2006. She says things could be better but she'd still pick pharmacy if she had to choose again. She's thinking of going into that GP pharmacy thing now just to challenge herself. I think things are a tad bit over exaggerated here lol.


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    (Original post by neldee95)
    Same! My cousin works in ASDA as a pharmacy manager. She has been a pharmacist since 2006. She says things could be better but she'd still pick pharmacy if she had to choose again. She's thinking of going into that GP pharmacy thing now just to challenge herself. I think things are a tad bit over exaggerated here lol.


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    I was too in denial... But, if you look at where pharmacy once was and where it is now the correlation is negative af. I originally applied to do pharmacy I'm now doing chemEng currently thinking of transferring to pharmacy... But I guess I need to look at the bigger picture here. I don't want to spend four years worrying about whether income is going to be like that of someone who grafts all day for nothing...


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    (Original post by neldee95)
    Same! My cousin works in ASDA as a pharmacy manager. She has been a pharmacist since 2006. She says things could be better but she'd still pick pharmacy if she had to choose again.She's thinking of going into that GP pharmacy thing now just to challenge herself. I think things are a tad bit over exaggerated here lol.


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    She's your cousin, she isn't going to tell you, you are half way through a useless course.
    Go ask someone not related, go ask some new young faces in your local Boots and Lloyds.

    So, also leaving community pharmacy! ("yeh, Nel, is great... but i'm leaving!" )
    (ASDA are slashing staff hours, left, right and centre!) Just had a girl come to work with me at one shop from Asda.

    If you think we're exaggerating, fine! Go and re-read RealisticPharm's very detailed explanation about what is wrong and going more wrong!
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    (Original post by Youngman2012)
    So you're saying Pharmacy is in a bad state now or MIGHT be in the near future/future?

    Are are there any newly qualifieds/qualified Pharmacists in here to back up the statements of RealisticPharm and Mrlittlebigman?

    Having spoken to a few friends on the phone, it doesn't seem as bad as you're making it out to be.
    Still waiting for a definition of "killing" re salary ! Please! Compared to my 27k in 1996/97 and recent offer last month of a job for 30k 2016 !

    It is in a bad state now, and will be in a worse state in 5 yrs time. Community that is. Have you read my previous posts on salary and hourly rates. How do you not see my rates being cut as bad? Do you think they are suddenly going to start going up again?

    One chain was paying me £19 in 2011. they now pay £14/15
    Another chain was paying me £23 in 2012, they now pay £19/20.
    Can you please tell me, how on earth you can see this as ok, or not that bad????!

    Are Dr/Dentist/Opticians hourly rates falling?
    Why enter a profession where hourly rates are falling? Find out the reason why, and think about it!
    The govt still hasn't capped pharmacy student numbers.
    I know it isn't something you want to hear, if you've set your heart on it, BUT the reason i quote these figures is, when I work with pre-regs and pharmacy students, all you talk about is the great money!!! It isn't !
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    (Original post by mrlittlebigman)
    She's your cousin, she isn't going to tell you, you are half way through a useless course.
    Go ask someone not related, go ask some new young faces in your local Boots and Lloyds.

    So, also leaving community pharmacy! ("yeh, Nel, is great... but i'm leaving!" )
    (ASDA are slashing staff hours, left, right and centre!) Just had a girl come to work with me at one shop from Asda.

    If you think we're exaggerating, fine! Go and re-read RealisticPharm's very detailed explanation about what is wrong and going more wrong!
    lol can you chill out?
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    (Original post by Uundergrad)
    I was too in denial... But, if you look at where pharmacy once was and where it is now the correlation is negative af. I originally applied to do pharmacy I'm now doing chemEng currently thinking of transferring to pharmacy... But I guess I need to look at the bigger picture here. I don't want to spend four years worrying about whether income is going to be like that of someone who grafts all day for nothing...


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    How is the chemEng job market looking?
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    (Original post by InadequateJusticex)
    Reading this thread has made me so, so happy I chose chemistry instead of pharmacy. Definitely dodged a bullet there.
    You absolutely did, someone sent me a private message and this is exactly what I suggested they do. If you like the Chemistry aspect of Pharmacy - do Chemistry! ESPECIALLY Chemistry it's hugely in demand.
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    Before I go on a verbose mission to upset the reader, just a quick message for the original intended readers of my post - A-Level students considering Pharmacy school.

    If you're looking at Pharmacy seriously, then you must be doing well, and have solid predicted grades. Many of you are probably hoping to do medicine as a first choice, and if you aren't then you are likely predicted to have grades good enough that you could have applied for largely anything else you wanted. The tone of those who haven't already applied seems to be refuting some of my points with the personal experience of one person they know. I have no doubt if you read around further, outside of prospectuses, on places where Pharmacists discuss professional issues you'd see what the vast majority think the future will hold.

    Simply, why risk it? Are you THAT enthusiastic about Pharmacy? How wrong about the profession do you think I am - I can remember what sort of career I was told would await when I was at University, how it was sold to me throughout my degree, and the stark reality that faced me in 2010. I put that down to 2005 contract, people didn't know what it would be like....until I heard the same nonsense being peddled 10 years later, except now it was obvious to everyone that we were in danger as a profession, never mind worried about what our role would be. It was only 11 years ago for me that I was filling out my UCAS form, Pharmacy was a 'reasonable choice' and not much else. It didn't offer anything then except a fairly good starting salary - there is NO 'kudos' to being a Pharmacist, and of the emotional fulfilment you can get out of many healthcare roles a found very few and far between (and funnily enough are especially rare in hospital, the one relatively safe part of Pharmacy)

    So I'd ask again - why are you risking it? If you didn't get into medicine and want to hedge your bets, go and do Natural Sciences (I know more Nat Sci students who went on to graduate medicine than I do Pharmacists, even though we were the degree course for the Medic who didn't). If you like chemistry, do Chemistry! If you really like drugs, or drug design, or want to work in industry - Chemical Engineering! All of these are degrees which have much, much brighter prospects than Pharmacy, and if you find out by second year that Pharmacy isn't for you then you're pretty much out of luck. If you don't like your Chemistry degree your career paths are enormous. As someone who went into University thinking it was stupid if you couldn't tell someone what you were going to do after you graduate trust me, I could not have been more wrong about that - if you're doing it as a second choice; pick something else. Doing it because you like one aspect of it and like the idea of having a job afterwards; you MIGHT get a job afterwards. If things go the way they are though, you may not, and recruiters don't know what to do with a Pharmacy degree. Nothing safe about choosing a Pharmacy degree, make sure you only do it because you honestly couldn't get what you want out of life any other way.

    Going to work in Industry

    1. EVERYONE spends their first two years of their MPharm fully intending to 'go into industry'. This career path is extremely limited, even if you went to the better schools. You'll be lucky if 5% of your year go into 'industry', I know one person who got in by applying, and two who had parents who already worked who got them in. It's definitely worth asking at an open day what links your Pharmacy dept has with industry - you'll read in the prospectus 'Close ties/work closely with etc' but this likely means 'The rep from GSK comes and gives a talk on using inhalers and some keyrings', or the close link might we that the research at the school is funded by Pfizer. That's not relevant to your undergrad plans though - specifically ask about numbers of students from the Pharmacy department taken on to industry summer placements each year. This is the only way anyone gets to leave and go and work in industry (and pre-reg placements with larger chains, ironically). This is likely to be something applicants for Engineering etc do as a matter of course, but it's not something many Pharmacist applicants do, it's assumed that industry is a viable career option, and it was up until the mid 1990s but since then the drug companies don't have as strong a link with Pharmacy schools (I would explain why, but I'll be accused of being wordy! As if I'm verbose....completely absurd to suggest that I'm in any way loquacious. You get the idea)

    2. If you do want to go and work in industry then do Pharmacology, Chemistry or Chemical Engineering. Odds are you may well have considered one of these other degrees instead of Pharmacy. There is much more room to make a degree that you enjoy via more flexible modules, and each of those departments often has links with industry that are much stronger than the Pharmacy department. Not to mention that a degree in Chemistry and Chem Eng will allow you much broader, non-Pharmaceutical career options should you change your mind in future.

    The State of Pharmacy Now

    Everything is relative - it's bad now compared to when I graduated 5 years ago. It was bad when I graduated compared to five years before that. It's much worse right now than when I was doing my A-Levels 10 years ago. I believe, and it seems the only other actual Pharmacist here also agrees, that the challenges coming up over the next 5-10 years will be pretty devastating. The last decade issues were caused by increasing 'retail ethos' into community Pharmacy, the proliferation of student numbers (which I was a part of), the looming prospect of automation of large parts of the role, and extremely weak leadership. The next 10 years will see all of those things remain, whilst the government sees to it that 25% of premises have to shut, and the automation actually comes into effect.

    What about X,Y,Z? They are still doing worse than you guys!

    Maybe, I don't know. I don't know who you know, how long they have been graduated, where they graduated from and ultimately what their life expectations were. As I said previously, I know a lot of engineers - I left into my £19k pre-reg role, and some of them ended up graduating onto the dole (most though had scored some sort of graduate role via summer placements, on about the same salary). Eighteen months later and I don't know anyone who was unemployed. Most people were by then earning upper £20ks, and I was on 42 as a community pharmacist manager. Today, talking about money has become vulgar once the student mindset leaves you, but I would say that most now seem like they are probably earning more money than I am. This will have been because my salary has dropped (every year I've done this job!), and also because they are in careers where they are able to constantly progress. There is no progression in community Pharmacy.

    Pharmacy new graduates will likely still be doing OK compared to many other newly graduated students for the next 5 or so years. Graduate starting salaries aren't really worth looking at, you'll want to know the average for your field, and ideally for your field based on experience so you can map where you'll be and plan your life accordingly.

    A quick bit of Googling brought me to Reed.co.uk, the recruitment agents who were the only place to have data for each of the professions mentioned here. I don't know what the job market in other industries is like, in community Pharmacy most jobs are sorted out internally. Those advertised externally on a website like this would tend to be those which are difficult to fill - typically because the hours might be anti-social. I'm not sure how a broad, recruitment agency type organisation might skew the results for the other fields.

    Role Median Salary
    N values Salary Change 2014/15 Salary Change %
    Pharmacy
    £34,925 440
    -£7,837 -18.2% Mechanical Engineer £35,069 977 -£227 -0.6% Pharmacology £49,625 12 -£1,171 -2.3% Analytical Chemist £36,161 140 + £924 +2.5% Chemistry (Medicines + Medical Device Dev.) £86,442 163 +£2,603 +2.9%
    It's a vague snapshot, and the numbers are going to be skewed by the numbers of roles, the only thing probably worth looking at there is the 18% drop in a year in advertised salaries of retail Pharmacist roles. This is almost entirely in response to oversupply of Pharmacists - have a guess what will happen when the government starts cutting?

    My cousin, friend etc said it ain't so bad - although they did say that yeah, they're going to leave community Pharmacy.

    Ironically, until I'd got out of it I was still fairly quiet about how concerned I was about the way the profession was going. Your mid to late 20s are a weird time, you want people to think you're doing well. Your family has supported you for ages financially and you want to show them that it was money well spent. I mean it was obvious to me what a terrible place community was, and I was worried sick, although I definitely didn't want to worry my parents, nor did I want to talk to friends who were moving up the career ladder how I was being paid less every single year. I'm fortunate that my other half is also a Pharmacist, and it was nice that she could see it to, and so the two of us 'biting the bullet' and leaving was much easier. I left a bit more decisively, she went on to this G.P prescribing Pharmacist thing that's knocking about as a small scale trial, although she managed to get on it around a year ago, so before this new, wider scale intake - I was a successful community Pharmacist, but I would not be suited to the new role she is doing.

    Speak to Pharmacists that you don't know - either in person or go to a Pharmacy forum (there are loads, C+D is probably the most diverse), sit down with a pad of paper, open up a thread discussing the latest cuts or whatever, and tally up whether each person things things are going to get better, or worse. Then focus on the one guy who said it should be ok, and think about how he must be right and there over 56 people are wrong.


    What about hospital Pharmacy, or this new Practice Pharmacist scheme?

    Hospital Pharmacy is not being cut in the same way that community Pharmacy is, this is correct. Hospital offers MUCH better working conditions, and is much more academically demanding, and I have no doubt feels much more professional to be part of. Historically it was significantly less well paid for the majority of your career - a band 6 Pharmacist would stretch from newly qualified to say 3-4 years experience and run from £25-30k, band 7 if you were promoted then took you up to £40k with training and further responsibilities, things then became narrower, less roles available but band 8 roles could see you earning between £40k to £60k for what would be a realistic role to end up in. Obviously being 'Chief Pharmacist' at a hospital would see you on £90k, but you are likely to get this role only by having spend significant time gaining managerial experience, either in retail or (often!) the army, believe it or not.

    5 years ago if you took a snapshot at Pharmacy it would have been obvious what the downside of hospital was - a hospital Pharmacist would often be paid 60% of a community Pharmacist. Hospital was great for a quality of life, community is where you could earn the money. This is probably reflected in why hospital has more women, and community Pharmacy is a bit more male dominated. This salary penalty is rapidly disappearing, and the current NHS pay banding isn't going anywhere just yet.

    There is little reason to NOT choose hospital Pharmacy any more, hospital is where it's at, and I would advise anyone who has found themselves on a pharmacy degree to do everything you can (that is SUMMER PLACEMENTS, SUMMER PLACEMENTS, SUMMER PLACEMENTS!) to get into hospital. Problem solved, right? Well, no....because hospital is already more than full. It's WAYYYY more competitive than community, even when the salaries were a third less. Hospital was much tougher to get in to when I graduated, you're looking at the academic students who go a first. Even then, they'd have to move for pre-reg jobs, and take what they could get.

    Roles in hospital will become even more competitive in the future. I can only imagine what it's like now that there is barely any salary penalty for choosing hospital. If you are sure that you will be one of the people leaving your degree with a first, then it's a career option for you. This competition will become even more fierce over the coming years as experienced community Pharmacists find themselves unemployed and have to look elsewhere, You may well find a market flooded with 4,000+ pharmacists who have 5+ years experience applying for the same jobs as you out of pre-reg. I still think that quality Pharmacists will be ok, but if you know someone who 'did OK and still got a job in hospital' you wont know that sort of person in the future.

    One other point of hospital - the NHS is traditionally good on salaries. They don't bid you in the balls like a community Pharmacy will. If you see an advert for a 'band 7' role you can look online and know what the pay you will be getting is, unlike applying for a job with a supermarket where you'll be told £35,000 - 49,000 and then when they see you're fresh out of pre-reg, sense your desperation and see if you'll take £33,000....However! (I love the bold key!) I am speculating, however it's not too much of a stretch to imagine - The Conservative government has made it quite clear that Pharmacy is to be cut aggressively to save the NHS money. Once there are 4,000 community Pharmacists closed, and at least 4,000 community Pharmacists with experience looking for a new role, there will be pressure on hospital salaries to come down, basic supply and demand. In the past I don't think you'd have seen such an obviously callous move, however I don't think it's unlikely that there will be a new pay banding for Pharmacy introduced some time around 2020 to reflect the new job market reality.

    GP Pilot Scheme - as I say my wife-if-she-plays-her-cards-right (or something) is currently a year or so into her role as an (almost) Pharmacist prescriber in a G.P surgery. She enjoys this work, says it's fun and rewarding, and it's fairly well paid too (£39k, not qualified). However for full disclosure, she isn't part of the scheme that has been mentioned a few times here. The GPPS could be a way to get some Pharmacists out of the community, and it's an interesting new avenue to have open. I imagine that pharmacy schools have already got this earmarked as something they can drill into students heads will be their guaranteed ticket to riches and a fulfilling career - disaster averted, don't worry about those community services!

    And they might be right, it's early days yet and it's admittedly not very similar to anything that has come before, so it's difficult to imagine how it might play out. It certainly seems positive, however a few things to bear in mind, mainly from someone on the inside.

    1. This is for 400 roles, and there's no real suggestion that practices will need more than one, or maybe two of these Pharmacists.
    2. It's a pilot - and it sees the NHS pay 66% of the Pharmacist salary for the first 3 years. G.P enthusiasm for the scheme is best described as mixed, even initially. You have those who think it's great, those who think it's terrible and those who think they wouldn't mind having a Pharmacist for £10k a year, but after that....*
    3. It's a completely different type of role, which your degree likely didn't prepare you for - Pharmacists are an infuriatingly cautious bunch, referring patients is done defensively by many in community, there is much more of a 'buck stops with you' feel about this role. Many, many community Pharmacists couldn't do this

    * - I wont go in to why G.Ps aren't overly enthused about it (although some are). This is long enough as it is. If there is the clamouring for even more words what I done written down on the matter then I'll go into it.


    The TL;DR of hospital and practice Pharmacists - hospital is better than community, and nowhere near as ****ed, but it's already competitive, and it's going to become massively competitive over the coming years, there aren't any more roles than there were before. The salary may also fall. However hospital is the best bet for anyone currently doing a Pharmacy degree. Practice Pharmacists may provide a relief valve to the profession - whether or not it'll be the small pin-sized leak the current scheme is, or whether or not it becomes a viable career path for many remains to be seen, but I can think of reasons why I wouldn't bet my future on it.

    Work for Aldi? Lol! I'm better than that!

    Recognise this view from when I was 17 myself. Became an adult and realised that with the possible exception of 'Doctor' (damn it! If only that UCAS personal statement had been better?!) no one really gives a toss what your job is, any pride you can derive comes from self-respect, and the lifestyle you present to others. To the first - Community Pharmacist is an extremely demoralising role. You are at the beck and call of anyone who 'wants a word with the Pharmacists' and if you think working for Aldi is beneath you I'm not sure how you're going to feel after you've spent £50k studying to be a 'professional' , keen to express some professional judgement only to get told to do your MURs regardless of clinical need, or you're sacked.....by someone who used to manage a Rymans stationers. If you are trying to impress other people then you need money, autonomy and free time to enjoy it. You'll be poorer than the Aldi manager, you'll work flat out all day, for 45+ hours a week but unlike Aldi manager you have close to zero control over your day. You will never move up, what you can afford when you're 28 will be what you're looking at when you're 58. You WILL get asked depressingly regularly 'Do you need to go to Uni to be a Pharmacist?'. Your 'lifestyle' will be much less impressive than a supermarket manager, and God help you if your spouse isn't also in Pharmacy.

    There will always be a need for Pharmacists though!

    I wasn't joking when I said that I think community Pharmacist could become the next stagecoach driver. It would require some concerted government effort, but it looks like that effort is being expended. If I've had enough of typing then you MUST have had enough of reading - if anyone is keen to hear about the exciting changes coming for community Pharmacy re: automation, business models and rumoured long term future of the RP regulations, then if you could just leave pleading comments then I'll happily oblige.
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    (Original post by Youngman2012)
    How many Chemists go on to study Pharmacy? A fair few to be honest, not many get roles within the industry they wanted. A lot go into accountancy and the rest end up at a university studying the MPharm.

    I know this from experience. I went to a university where around 10% of the cohort were Chemist graduates.

    Why not do the MPharm in the first place? A Pharmacist can do the majority of the roles a Pharmacologist or a Chemist can do with a further masters qualification.

    Why wouldn't a GP be keen on having a Pharmacist to work as his b**ch for a third of a locum GPs salary?

    And a 39-42k isn't actually that bad when compared to the national average of 25k.

    The grass isn't always greener on the other side.
    You're a fool if you honestly think a pharmacist can do the majority of roles a chemist can.

    Your first mistake was assuming that 'many go into accountancy and the rest go to university (again?) to study Pharmacy' :lol:
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    (Original post by InadequateJusticex)
    You're a fool if you honestly think a pharmacist can do the majority of roles a chemist can.

    Your first mistake was assuming that 'many go into accountancy and the rest go to university (again?) to study Pharmacy' :lol:
    I don't think you should be calling anyone a fool for simply stating their beliefs. Your opinion is not law, sir. Let us disagree like grown ups.
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    (Original post by neldee95)
    I don't think you should be calling anyone a fool for simply stating their beliefs. Your opinion is not law, sir. Let us disagree like grown ups.
    Well perhaps he should've done some basic research first if he wants people to take his 'beliefs' seriously. It's not hard. When did I ever say my opinion was law, exactly?

    Am I not allowed to have an opinion on someone's opinion now?
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    Because you're doing Chemistry you believe it's superior to Pharmacy? A Pharmacist with further masters can easily do what a Chemist does.
    Wait, until you get in the real world.

    How many Pharmacists do we see on the dole?
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    (Original post by RealisticPharm)
    Before I go on a verbose mission to upset the reader, just a quick message for the original intended readers of my post - A-Level students considering Pharmacy school.

    If you're looking at Pharmacy seriously, then you must be doing well, and have solid predicted grades. Many of you are probably hoping to do medicine as a first choice, and if you aren't then you are likely predicted to have grades good enough that you could have applied for largely anything else you wanted. The tone of those who haven't already applied seems to be refuting some of my points with the personal experience of one person they know. I have no doubt if you read around further, outside of prospectuses, on places where Pharmacists discuss professional issues you'd see what the vast majority think the future will hold.

    Simply, why risk it? Are you THAT enthusiastic about Pharmacy? How wrong about the profession do you think I am - I can remember what sort of career I was told would await when I was at University, how it was sold to me throughout my degree, and the stark reality that faced me in 2010. I put that down to 2005 contract, people didn't know what it would be like....until I heard the same nonsense being peddled 10 years later, except now it was obvious to everyone that we were in danger as a profession, never mind worried about what our role would be. It was only 11 years ago for me that I was filling out my UCAS form, Pharmacy was a 'reasonable choice' and not much else. It didn't offer anything then except a fairly good starting salary - there is NO 'kudos' to being a Pharmacist, and of the emotional fulfilment you can get out of many healthcare roles a found very few and far between (and funnily enough are especially rare in hospital, the one relatively safe part of Pharmacy)

    So I'd ask again - why are you risking it? If you didn't get into medicine and want to hedge your bets, go and do Natural Sciences (I know more Nat Sci students who went on to graduate medicine than I do Pharmacists, even though we were the degree course for the Medic who didn't). If you like chemistry, do Chemistry! If you really like drugs, or drug design, or want to work in industry - Chemical Engineering! All of these are degrees which have much, much brighter prospects than Pharmacy, and if you find out by second year that Pharmacy isn't for you then you're pretty much out of luck. If you don't like your Chemistry degree your career paths are enormous. As someone who went into University thinking it was stupid if you couldn't tell someone what you were going to do after you graduate trust me, I could not have been more wrong about that - if you're doing it as a second choice; pick something else. Doing it because you like one aspect of it and like the idea of having a job afterwards; you MIGHT get a job afterwards. If things go the way they are though, you may not, and recruiters don't know what to do with a Pharmacy degree. Nothing safe about choosing a Pharmacy degree, make sure you only do it because you honestly couldn't get what you want out of life any other way.

    Going to work in Industry

    1. EVERYONE spends their first two years of their MPharm fully intending to 'go into industry'. This career path is extremely limited, even if you went to the better schools. You'll be lucky if 5% of your year go into 'industry', I know one person who got in by applying, and two who had parents who already worked who got them in. It's definitely worth asking at an open day what links your Pharmacy dept has with industry - you'll read in the prospectus 'Close ties/work closely with etc' but this likely means 'The rep from GSK comes and gives a talk on using inhalers and some keyrings', or the close link might we that the research at the school is funded by Pfizer. That's not relevant to your undergrad plans though - specifically ask about numbers of students from the Pharmacy department taken on to industry summer placements each year. This is the only way anyone gets to leave and go and work in industry (and pre-reg placements with larger chains, ironically). This is likely to be something applicants for Engineering etc do as a matter of course, but it's not something many Pharmacist applicants do, it's assumed that industry is a viable career option, and it was up until the mid 1990s but since then the drug companies don't have as strong a link with Pharmacy schools (I would explain why, but I'll be accused of being wordy! As if I'm verbose....completely absurd to suggest that I'm in any way loquacious. You get the idea)

    2. If you do want to go and work in industry then do Pharmacology, Chemistry or Chemical Engineering. Odds are you may well have considered one of these other degrees instead of Pharmacy. There is much more room to make a degree that you enjoy via more flexible modules, and each of those departments often has links with industry that are much stronger than the Pharmacy department. Not to mention that a degree in Chemistry and Chem Eng will allow you much broader, non-Pharmaceutical career options should you change your mind in future.

    The State of Pharmacy Now

    Everything is relative - it's bad now compared to when I graduated 5 years ago. It was bad when I graduated compared to five years before that. It's much worse right now than when I was doing my A-Levels 10 years ago. I believe, and it seems the only other actual Pharmacist here also agrees, that the challenges coming up over the next 5-10 years will be pretty devastating. The last decade issues were caused by increasing 'retail ethos' into community Pharmacy, the proliferation of student numbers (which I was a part of), the looming prospect of automation of large parts of the role, and extremely weak leadership. The next 10 years will see all of those things remain, whilst the government sees to it that 25% of premises have to shut, and the automation actually comes into effect.

    What about X,Y,Z? They are still doing worse than you guys!

    Maybe, I don't know. I don't know who you know, how long they have been graduated, where they graduated from and ultimately what their life expectations were. As I said previously, I know a lot of engineers - I left into my £19k pre-reg role, and some of them ended up graduating onto the dole (most though had scored some sort of graduate role via summer placements, on about the same salary). Eighteen months later and I don't know anyone who was unemployed. Most people were by then earning upper £20ks, and I was on 42 as a community pharmacist manager. Today, talking about money has become vulgar once the student mindset leaves you, but I would say that most now seem like they are probably earning more money than I am. This will have been because my salary has dropped (every year I've done this job!), and also because they are in careers where they are able to constantly progress. There is no progression in community Pharmacy.

    Pharmacy new graduates will likely still be doing OK compared to many other newly graduated students for the next 5 or so years. Graduate starting salaries aren't really worth looking at, you'll want to know the average for your field, and ideally for your field based on experience so you can map where you'll be and plan your life accordingly.

    A quick bit of Googling brought me to Reed.co.uk, the recruitment agents who were the only place to have data for each of the professions mentioned here. I don't know what the job market in other industries is like, in community Pharmacy most jobs are sorted out internally. Those advertised externally on a website like this would tend to be those which are difficult to fill - typically because the hours might be anti-social. I'm not sure how a broad, recruitment agency type organisation might skew the results for the other fields.

    Role Median Salary
    N values Salary Change 2014/15 Salary Change %
    Pharmacy
    £34,925 440
    -£7,837 -18.2% Mechanical Engineer £35,069 977 -£227 -0.6% Pharmacology £49,625 12 -£1,171 -2.3% Analytical Chemist £36,161 140 + £924 +2.5% Chemistry (Medicines + Medical Device Dev.) £86,442 163 +£2,603 +2.9%
    It's a vague snapshot, and the numbers are going to be skewed by the numbers of roles, the only thing probably worth looking at there is the 18% drop in a year in advertised salaries of retail Pharmacist roles. This is almost entirely in response to oversupply of Pharmacists - have a guess what will happen when the government starts cutting?

    My cousin, friend etc said it ain't so bad - although they did say that yeah, they're going to leave community Pharmacy.

    Ironically, until I'd got out of it I was still fairly quiet about how concerned I was about the way the profession was going. Your mid to late 20s are a weird time, you want people to think you're doing well. Your family has supported you for ages financially and you want to show them that it was money well spent. I mean it was obvious to me what a terrible place community was, and I was worried sick, although I definitely didn't want to worry my parents, nor did I want to talk to friends who were moving up the career ladder how I was being paid less every single year. I'm fortunate that my other half is also a Pharmacist, and it was nice that she could see it to, and so the two of us 'biting the bullet' and leaving was much easier. I left a bit more decisively, she went on to this G.P prescribing Pharmacist thing that's knocking about as a small scale trial, although she managed to get on it around a year ago, so before this new, wider scale intake - I was a successful community Pharmacist, but I would not be suited to the new role she is doing.

    Speak to Pharmacists that you don't know - either in person or go to a Pharmacy forum (there are loads, C+D is probably the most diverse), sit down with a pad of paper, open up a thread discussing the latest cuts or whatever, and tally up whether each person things things are going to get better, or worse. Then focus on the one guy who said it should be ok, and think about how he must be right and there over 56 people are wrong.


    What about hospital Pharmacy, or this new Practice Pharmacist scheme?

    Hospital Pharmacy is not being cut in the same way that community Pharmacy is, this is correct. Hospital offers MUCH better working conditions, and is much more academically demanding, and I have no doubt feels much more professional to be part of. Historically it was significantly less well paid for the majority of your career - a band 6 Pharmacist would stretch from newly qualified to say 3-4 years experience and run from £25-30k, band 7 if you were promoted then took you up to £40k with training and further responsibilities, things then became narrower, less roles available but band 8 roles could see you earning between £40k to £60k for what would be a realistic role to end up in. Obviously being 'Chief Pharmacist' at a hospital would see you on £90k, but you are likely to get this role only by having spend significant time gaining managerial experience, either in retail or (often!) the army, believe it or not.

    5 years ago if you took a snapshot at Pharmacy it would have been obvious what the downside of hospital was - a hospital Pharmacist would often be paid 60% of a community Pharmacist. Hospital was great for a quality of life, community is where you could earn the money. This is probably reflected in why hospital has more women, and community Pharmacy is a bit more male dominated. This salary penalty is rapidly disappearing, and the current NHS pay banding isn't going anywhere just yet.

    There is little reason to NOT choose hospital Pharmacy any more, hospital is where it's at, and I would advise anyone who has found themselves on a pharmacy degree to do everything you can (that is SUMMER PLACEMENTS, SUMMER PLACEMENTS, SUMMER PLACEMENTS!) to get into hospital. Problem solved, right? Well, no....because hospital is already more than full. It's WAYYYY more competitive than community, even when the salaries were a third less. Hospital was much tougher to get in to when I graduated, you're looking at the academic students who go a first. Even then, they'd have to move for pre-reg jobs, and take what they could get.

    Roles in hospital will become even more competitive in the future. I can only imagine what it's like now that there is barely any salary penalty for choosing hospital. If you are sure that you will be one of the people leaving your degree with a first, then it's a career option for you. This competition will become even more fierce over the coming years as experienced community Pharmacists find themselves unemployed and have to look elsewhere, You may well find a market flooded with 4,000+ pharmacists who have 5+ years experience applying for the same jobs as you out of pre-reg. I still think that quality Pharmacists will be ok, but if you know someone who 'did OK and still got a job in hospital' you wont know that sort of person in the future.

    One other point of hospital - the NHS is traditionally good on salaries. They don't bid you in the balls like a community Pharmacy will. If you see an advert for a 'band 7' role you can look online and know what the pay you will be getting is, unlike applying for a job with a supermarket where you'll be told £35,000 - 49,000 and then when they see you're fresh out of pre-reg, sense your desperation and see if you'll take £33,000....However! (I love the bold key!) I am speculating, however it's not too much of a stretch to imagine - The Conservative government has made it quite clear that Pharmacy is to be cut aggressively to save the NHS money. Once there are 4,000 community Pharmacists closed, and at least 4,000 community Pharmacists with experience looking for a new role, there will be pressure on hospital salaries to come down, basic supply and demand. In the past I don't think you'd have seen such an obviously callous move, however I don't think it's unlikely that there will be a new pay banding for Pharmacy introduced some time around 2020 to reflect the new job market reality.

    GP Pilot Scheme - as I say my wife-if-she-plays-her-cards-right (or something) is currently a year or so into her role as an (almost) Pharmacist prescriber in a G.P surgery. She enjoys this work, says it's fun and rewarding, and it's fairly well paid too (£39k, not qualified). However for full disclosure, she isn't part of the scheme that has been mentioned a few times here. The GPPS could be a way to get some Pharmacists out of the community, and it's an interesting new avenue to have open. I imagine that pharmacy schools have already got this earmarked as something they can drill into students heads will be their guaranteed ticket to riches and a fulfilling career - disaster averted, don't worry about those community services!

    And they might be right, it's early days yet and it's admittedly not very similar to anything that has come before, so it's difficult to imagine how it might play out. It certainly seems positive, however a few things to bear in mind, mainly from someone on the inside.

    1. This is for 400 roles, and there's no real suggestion that practices will need more than one, or maybe two of these Pharmacists.
    2. It's a pilot - and it sees the NHS pay 66% of the Pharmacist salary for the first 3 years. G.P enthusiasm for the scheme is best described as mixed, even initially. You have those who think it's great, those who think it's terrible and those who think they wouldn't mind having a Pharmacist for £10k a year, but after that....*
    3. It's a completely different type of role, which your degree likely didn't prepare you for - Pharmacists are an infuriatingly cautious bunch, referring patients is done defensively by many in community, there is much more of a 'buck stops with you' feel about this role. Many, many community Pharmacists couldn't do this

    * - I wont go in to why G.Ps aren't overly enthused about it (although some are). This is long enough as it is. If there is the clamouring for even more words what I done written down on the matter then I'll go into it.


    The TL;DR of hospital and practice Pharmacists - hospital is better than community, and nowhere near as ****ed, but it's already competitive, and it's going to become massively competitive over the coming years, there aren't any more roles than there were before. The salary may also fall. However hospital is the best bet for anyone currently doing a Pharmacy degree. Practice Pharmacists may provide a relief valve to the profession - whether or not it'll be the small pin-sized leak the current scheme is, or whether or not it becomes a viable career path for many remains to be seen, but I can think of reasons why I wouldn't bet my future on it.

    Work for Aldi? Lol! I'm better than that!

    Recognise this view from when I was 17 myself. Became an adult and realised that with the possible exception of 'Doctor' (damn it! If only that UCAS personal statement had been better?!) no one really gives a toss what your job is, any pride you can derive comes from self-respect, and the lifestyle you present to others. To the first - Community Pharmacist is an extremely demoralising role. You are at the beck and call of anyone who 'wants a word with the Pharmacists' and if you think working for Aldi is beneath you I'm not sure how you're going to feel after you've spent £50k studying to be a 'professional' , keen to express some professional judgement only to get told to do your MURs regardless of clinical need, or you're sacked.....by someone who used to manage a Rymans stationers. If you are trying to impress other people then you need money, autonomy and free time to enjoy it. You'll be poorer than the Aldi manager, you'll work flat out all day, for 45+ hours a week but unlike Aldi manager you have close to zero control over your day. You will never move up, what you can afford when you're 28 will be what you're looking at when you're 58. You WILL get asked depressingly regularly 'Do you need to go to Uni to be a Pharmacist?'. Your 'lifestyle' will be much less impressive than a supermarket manager, and God help you if your spouse isn't also in Pharmacy.

    There will always be a need for Pharmacists though!

    I wasn't joking when I said that I think community Pharmacist could become the next stagecoach driver. It would require some concerted government effort, but it looks like that effort is being expended. If I've had enough of typing then you MUST have had enough of reading - if anyone is keen to hear about the exciting changes coming for community Pharmacy re: automation, business models and rumoured long term future of the RP regulations, then if you could just leave pleading comments then I'll happily oblige.
    How many Chemists go on to study Pharmacy? A fair few to be honest, not many get roles within the industry they wanted. A lot go into accountancy and some end up at a university studying the MPharm or teaching in schools.

    I know this from experience. I went to a university where around 10% of the cohort were Chemist graduates.

    Why not do the MPharm in the first place? A Pharmacist can do the majority of the roles a Pharmacologist or a Chemist can do with a further masters qualification.

    Why wouldn't a GP be keen on having a Pharmacist to work as his b**ch for a third of a locum GPs salary?

    And a 39-42k isn't actually that bad when compared to the national average of 25k.

    The grass isn't always greener on the other side.
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    (Original post by Youngman2012)
    Because you're doing Chemistry you believe it's superior to Pharmacy? A Pharmacist with further masters can easily do what a Chemist does.
    Wait, until you get in the real world.

    How many Pharmacists do we see on the dole?
    Honestly I highly doubt it. I admit I have no real exp, hell I'm retaking A2, but I know many people who did pharmacy without even doing chemistry. All chemistry jobs seem a lot more logic based, using equation, maths and x and y but all i've seen from friends on pharmacy courses, just soft versions of chemistry. Most of their jobs is dispensing. Chemistry is a lot more academic and gives a huge amount more skills IMO.
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    (Original post by Youngman2012)
    Because you're doing Chemistry you believe it's superior to Pharmacy? A Pharmacist with further masters can easily do what a Chemist does.
    Wait, until you get in the real world.
    No, it's because we cover a wider curriculum, which even you can't deny. Pharmacy degrees are very specific by nature whereas a chemistry degree covers a wide range of topics from organic and medicinal chemistry, main group chemistry, materials, electrochemistry and colloids to name a few. A Pharmacist can't simply just do a masters and specialise in some areas, particularly physical/inorganic chemistry, purely because they just don't have the foundation knowledge that chemists do.

    Anyway, you're on track for a 2:2 in Engineering with no job lined up. What do you know about other industries and subjects when you can't even get at least a 2:1 in your area of 'expertise'?
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    (Original post by InadequateJusticex)
    Well perhaps he should've done some basic research first if he wants people to take his 'beliefs' seriously. It's not hard. When did I ever say my opinion was law, exactly?

    Am I not allowed to have an opinion on someone's opinion now?
    Your opinion - that no Chemistry students go on to study the MPharm degree, is absolutely spot on in my experience. I don't know why anyone would do that. Chemistry is very much 'in demand' and as I believe I alluded to in my ten-pager above, a lot of the roles that Pharmacists might have done in 'industry' have been taken by Chemistry students - go and have a look at a Glaxo or Pfizer summer placement. Loads of roles for Chemistry students, one role for Pharmacists, and it's shared with Chemists.

    High starting salaries in community sort of wrecked Pharmacists going into industry. When you could earn double an industry starting salary working for Boots, that's what Pharmacists did (late 90s). Then industry realised that instead of getting 1x Pharmacist for £40k+ they could get 1xChemist and 1x Biology grad for £20k, and have a much stronger team. Crude, but it's pretty much what happened. Pharmacist salaries might be dropping so it looks attractive to the Pharmacists once again, but the links with industry just aren't there, and they've more than learned to do without any graduate entry from Pharmacy students.

    Anyone who thought about it even one iota would know that no Chemistry graduate has ever returned to do the MPharm. There has never been a time when it would make financial sense - and no one has ever had the dream of being a Pharmacist.

    (Original post by youngman)
    How many Chemists go on to study Pharmacy? A fair few to be honest, not many get roles within the industry they wanted. A lot go into accountancy and the rest end up at a university studying the MPharm.
    Why not do the MPharm in the first place? A Pharmacist can do the majority of the roles a Pharmacologist or a Chemist can do with a further masters qualification.

    Why wouldn't a GP be keen on having a Pharmacist to work as his b**ch for a third of a locum GPs salary?

    And a 39-42k isn't actually that bad when compared to the national average of 25k.
    I simply do not believe you're a Pharmacist, or studying Pharmacy.You do not seem like someone who would be in a position to be considering Pharmacy or any degree with similar entry requirements.

    £42k was the salary I started on 5 years ago, a similar job today would probably be £32k.That's pretty much the whole point.

    Again, if you are comparing your prospects against 'the national average wage' then it really illustrates that you do not have particularly high hopes for your future.

    That said if you don't mind earning a shade over an average wage and being someone's ***** then you probably will be well suited to Pharmacy of the future!
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    I note the table that looked fine in the preview hasn't come out too good.

    Just to copy and paste the information


    Role / Median Salary / N Values / Salary Change £ 2015/15 / Salary Change % from 2014/15

    Pharmacy £34,925 440 -£7,837 -18.2%
    Mechanical Engineer £35,069 977 -£227 -0.6%
    Pharmacology £49,625 12 -£1,171 -2.3%
    Analytical Chemist £36,161 140 + £924 +2.5%
    Chemistry £86,442 163 +£2,603 +2.9%
    (Medicines + Medical Device Dev.)

    Information is from the recruitment firm reed.co.uk - I agree a general recruitment firm is likely to pose all sorts of issues as far as the data goes, but it's one of the few places where you could get data on multiple careers from a single source. If nothing else, it should nicely illustrate the direction that 440 Pharmacists salaries took last year.....an 18.2% drop. Look at Reed, they seem to have jobs for newly qualifieds in the arse-end of the Pharmacy jobs market. Lots of supermarkets. That 18% fall will not be representative of the profession as a whole as many community Pharmacists without options will now start staying put, because they wont be able to move up any more - shows what companies are doing when they get a chance to reset the salary for a position though....
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    (Original post by RealisticPharm)
    I note the table that looked fine in the preview hasn't come out too good.

    Just to copy and paste the information


    Role / Median Salary / N Values / Salary Change £ 2015/15 / Salary Change % from 2014/15

    Pharmacy £34,925 440 -£7,837 -18.2%
    Mechanical Engineer £35,069 977 -£227 -0.6%
    Pharmacology £49,625 12 -£1,171 -2.3%
    Analytical Chemist £36,161 140 + £924 +2.5%
    Chemistry £86,442 163 +£2,603 +2.9%
    (Medicines + Medical Device Dev.)

    Information is from the recruitment firm reed.co.uk - I agree a general recruitment firm is likely to pose all sorts of issues as far as the data goes, but it's one of the few places where you could get data on multiple careers from a single source. If nothing else, it should nicely illustrate the direction that 440 Pharmacists salaries took last year.....an 18.2% drop. Look at Reed, they seem to have jobs for newly qualifieds in the arse-end of the Pharmacy jobs market. Lots of supermarkets. That 18% fall will not be representative of the profession as a whole as many community Pharmacists without options will now start staying put, because they wont be able to move up any more - shows what companies are doing when they get a chance to reset the salary for a position though....
    Seriously, was considering going back to university to do the MPharm as a Mech Eng. Not too sure now.
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    (Original post by InadequateJusticex)
    No, it's because we cover a wider curriculum, which even you can't deny. Pharmacy degrees are very specific by nature whereas a chemistry degree covers a wide range of topics from organic and medicinal chemistry, main group chemistry, materials, electrochemistry and colloids to name a few. A Pharmacist can't simply just do a masters and specialise in some areas, particularly physical/inorganic chemistry, purely because they just don't have the foundation knowledge that chemists do.

    Anyway, you're on track for a 2:2 in Engineering with no job lined up. What do you know about other industries and subjects when you can't even get at least a 2:1 in your area of 'expertise'?
    I don't think any Pharmacist will deny that Chemists are the true....Chemists! I mean, what sort of idiot would you have to be to think that someone who studies Chemistry for 3-4 years, could be replaced by someone who studied some Chemistry for 4 years, alongside microbiology, physiology, pharmacokinetics, law, pharmacy practice, epidemiology etc. No Pharmacist is ever going to be close to any specialist in any of those fields, it's a generalist degree!

    Chemistry is probably a lot more stable as a career choice too. It probably wasn't as lucrative as Pharmacy in the last two decades, although I doubt there was much in it. The gap has closed now, and given that there always was a shortage of Chemistry students, a glut of Pharmacy students, and those that there are are facing pretty poor prospects, it's an avenue I'd urge any Pharmacy applicant to consider.
 
 
 
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