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2012 Compensation and Labor Survey

Changes in the Pharmacist and Technician Workforce in Licensed Minnesota Pharmacies between 2002 and 2012

Jon C. Schommer, PhD, RPh, Professor; Caroline A. Gaither, PhD, RPh, Professor; Ronald S. Hadsall, PhD, RPh, Professor; Tom A. Larson, PharmD, RPh, Professor; Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, PhD, RPh, Professor; Donald L. Uden, PharmD, RPh, Professor; University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Minneapolis

The University of Minnesota provided funding for this study.

We gratefully acknowledge Minnesota pharmacists who received and responded to the survey. We appreciate their time and effort in providing requested information. Without their assistance, the report would not be possible.


Background and Study Purpose

To help track changes in the Minnesota pharmacy workforce, our goal for this study was to describe the underlying trends of the Minnesota pharmacy market at the licensed pharmacy level. The specific objectives of this study were to describe the pharmacist and technician workforce in licensed pharmacies during the years 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012 in the state of Minnesota in terms of: (1) the demand for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, (2) the degree the demand for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians is being met, (3) the stability of the pharmacist and pharmacy technician market, and (4) the wage rates the pharmacy market is willing to offer pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. This study builds upon earlier research in which we reported workforce changes on a biennial basis [1-5].


Methods

Each pharmacy location in Minnesota (as recorded by the Minnesota State Board of Pharmacy) was used as the unit of analysis. For each biennial survey, samples of pharmacies were selected as summarized below:

Year

Inpatient Pharmacy Sample

Outpatient Pharmacy Sample

TOTAL

2002

All 169 pharmacies

302 out of 970 pharmacies

471 out of 1,139

2004

All 185 pharmacies

332 out of 997 pharmacies

517 out of 1,182

2006

All 171 pharmacies

All 1,042 pharmacies

1,213 out of 1,213

2008

All 179 pharmacies

All 1,060 pharmacies

1,239 out of 1,239

2010

All 178 pharmacies

All 1,035 pharmacies

1,213 out of 1,213

2012

All 156 pharmacies

All 1,077 pharmacies

1,233 out of 1,233

Inpatient pharmacies included hospital, institutional, and specialty practices. Outpatient pharmacies included pharmacies that were determined as being reasonably accessible by any ambulatory patient/client for receiving prescription medications and associated services.

Data were collected from key informants (i.e. owners, directors, or managers) at each pharmacy. The key informant was mailed a cover letter, a postage paid return envelope, and a questionnaire. Approximately four weeks after the initial mailing, another survey form and postage paid return envelope were mailed to non-responders.


Results

Response rates for each survey are summarized below:

Year

Overall Response Rate

Number of Usable Surveys

Number Inpatient

Number Outpatient

2002

272 / 471 = 58%

264

94

170

2004

277 / 517 = 54%

277

93

184

2006

733 / 1,213 = 60%

716

100

616

2008

783 / 1,239 = 63%

766

124

642

2010

673 / 1,213 = 55%

657

130

527

2012

613 / 1,233 = 50%

613

113

500

Table 1 summarizes findings for inpatient pharmacies and Table 2 summarizes findings for outpatient-type pharmacies. The results show that the demand for pharmacists in Minnesota during 2010 and during 2012 was lower than the years 2002 through to 2008, for both inpatient and outpatient settings. The demand for technicians also remained relatively lower in 2012 for inpatient settings, but was higher for outpatient settings when compared with 2010.

We tracked the stability of the pharmacist and pharmacy technician market by monitoring the number of full-time and part-time pharmacists and the number of full-time and part-time technicians who left the employ of pharmacies during the pharmacies’ most current fiscal year. Also, between 2002 and 2012 we monitored the need for some pharmacies to cut back hours in pharmacies due to a shortage of pharmacist or pharmacy technician staff. For 2010 and 2012, we also collected data about cutting back hours in order to save labor costs. In terms of these indicators, we suggest that the pharmacist and pharmacy technician market was "volatile” for the years 2002 through 2012.

Finally, the wage rates that the licensed pharmacy market was willing to offer pharmacists rose each biennium from 2002 to 2012 with starting salaries for full-time pharmacists working in inpatient settings increasing 37% from 2002 to 2012 and starting salaries for full-time pharmacists working in outpatient settings increasing 38%. However, wage rates that the market was willing to offer full-time technicians rose at a relatively slower rate from 2002 to 2012 (21% increase for inpatient pharmacy technicians and 18% increase for outpatient pharmacy technicians during the 10-years between 2002 and 2012). For reference, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) between 2002 and 2012 rose 25%.


Conclusions

The pharmacist and pharmacy technician shortages that had persisted in Minnesota from 2002 through 2008 were lessened in 2010 and 2012 in terms of the number of personnel that were sought by licensed pharmacies in the state. It should be noted that our surveys for 2010 and 2012 were conducted during a relatively weak economy (compared with the years 2002 through 2008). For example, overall unemployment in Minnesota was less than 5% during 2002 through 2008 and it was greater than 5% during 2010 and 2012.

The pharmacy labor market has remained volatile in terms of dependence on part-time labor, relatively high turnover, the need for some pharmacies to cut back hours of operation, fluctuations in hourly wages for pharmacists, and lower expectations for pharmacy hiring of pharmacists and technicians in both the 2010 and 2012 surveys. One exception to this was an increase in expected hiring for part-time technicians in outpatient pharmacies (2012 survey). We expect this labor market to remain dynamic in light of uncertainty surrounding (1) the U.S. economy, (2) effects of health care reform, (3) the extent of new job opportunities in organizations that are not licensed as pharmacies, (4) future work contributions of various pharmacist cohorts (such as pharmacists of child-rearing age and pharmacists of retirement age), and (5) the use of technicians as less expensive substitutes for some pharmacist work activities.
The results of this study should be viewed within the context of the study limitations. Workforce data were collected from licensed Minnesota pharmacies and do not include other work settings in which pharmacists are employed. There is evidence from the 2009 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey [6] that potential short-term job growth for pharmacists may reside in organizations that are not licensed as pharmacies. Because we only collected data from licensed pharmacies, our findings do not represent job growth in other settings.

Also, we received responses from only a portion of the pharmacies in Minnesota. When making estimates for the whole state of Minnesota, we made the assumption that respondents to our survey were representative of all pharmacies in Minnesota. Also, the number and mix of various types of pharmacies that were coded as inpatient or as outpatient pharmacies could have changed from year to year to the point where our comparisons could be biased. However, if one keeps these important limitations in mind, the findings provide evidence that the pharmacy labor market remains volatile in Minnesota and that there has been a decrease in demand for pharmacists in the 2010 and 2012 pharmacy surveys compared to the surveys conducted from 2002 through 2008. These findings contribute to our understanding of the demand for pharmacists and technicians, the degree the demand is being met, the stability of the market, and the wage rate the licensed pharmacy employment market is willing to pay in Minnesota.


References

1. Singh, Reshmi, Jon C. Schommer, Richard R. Cline, Ronald S. Hadsall, Tom A. Larson, Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, and Donald L. Uden, "Changes in the Minnesota Pharmacy Workforce Between 2000 and 2002,” Minnesota Pharmacist, 2003, Vol. 57, No. 6: 23-26,28.

2. Gupta, Kiran, Phantipa Sakthong, Jon C. Schommer, Richard R. Cline, Ronald S. Hadsall, Tom A. Larson, Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, Donald L. Uden, "Changes in the Minnesota Pharmacy Workforce between 2002 and 2004, Minnesota Pharmacist, 2005, Vol. 59, No.2, 21-23, 40-41.

3. Omar, Moustapha, Yingli Yuan, Yen-Wen Chen, Jon C. Schommer, Richard R. Cline, Ronald S. Hadsall, Tom A. Larson, Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, and Donald L. Uden, "Changes in the Minnesota Pharmacy Workforce between 2002 and 2006, Minnesota Pharmacist, March/April 2007, 28-31.

4. Omar, Moustapha, Jon C. Schommer, Richard R. Cline, Ronald S. Hadsall, Tom A. Larson, Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, and Donald L. Uden, "Changes in the Minnesota Pharmacy Workforce between 2002 and 2008,” Minnesota Pharmacist, Spring 2009, 22-25.

5. Yusuf, Akeem, Jon C. Schommer, Richard R. Cline, Ronald S. Hadsall, Tom A. Larson, Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, and Donald L. Uden, "Changes in the Pharmacist and Technician Workforce in Licensed Minnesota Pharmacies between 2002 and 2010,” Minnesota Pharmacist, Fall 2010, 16-21.

6. Schommer, Jon C., William R. Doucette, Caroline A. Gaither, David H. Kreling, and David A. Mott, "Final Report of the 2009 National Pharmacist Workforce Survey,” Presented to Pharmacy Manpower Project, Inc., November 2, 2009.
Available at: http://www.aacp.org/resources/research/pharmacymanpower/Pages/default.aspx.


Biographical Sketches for authors of this manuscript:

Jon C. Schommer, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.

Caroline A. Gaither, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.

Ronald S. Hadsall, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.

Tom A. Larson, PharmD, is Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.

Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, PharmD, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.

Donald L. Uden, PharmD, is Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care and Health Systems, College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.


Table 1: Workforce Estimates for Inpatient Minnesota Pharmacies

2002 Inpatient
N = 169a

2004 Inpatient
N = 185a

2006 Inpatient
N = 171a

2008
Inpatient
N = 179a

2010
Inpatient
N = 178a

2012
Inpatient
N = 156a

Minnesota Pharmacist Workforce

Number of licensed pharmacists employed

1,598

1,168

1,397

1,595

1,592

1,552

Number who work full time (at least 30 hrs/wk)

1,160

806

956

1,221

1,189

1,195

Total pharmacist hours per week

47,113

33,333

33,123

42,452

45,941

43,074

Ideally, number of additional full time pharmacists that pharmacies would like to hire over the next year

111

83

90

117

63

78

Realistically, how many additional full time pharmacists that pharmacies expect to hire over the next year

93

53

60

65

34

49

Ideally, number of additional part time pharmacists that pharmacies would like to hire over the next year

70

79

92

101

67

53

Realistically, how many additional part time pharmacists that pharmacies expect to hire over the next year

49

48

42

40

33

24

Maximum hourly wage rate (not including weekend or overtime rates) pharmacies would be willing to pay a newly hired full time pharmacist

$39.12
+/- $4.72

$41.57
+/- $6.15

$46.02
+/- $4.70

$49.74
+/- $4.40

$51.62
+/- $5.72

$53.72
+/- $4.48

Maximum hourly wage rate (not including weekend or overtime rates) pharmacies would be willing to pay a newly hired part time pharmacist

$39.74
+/- $5.45

$41.06
+/- $7.37

$46.90
+/- 8.59

$49.61
+/- $5.52

$51.66
+/- $4.91

$53.91
+/- $4.48

Currently open positions for a full-time (> 30hrs/wk) pharmacist

61

33

31

58

21

18

Currently open positions for a part-time (< 30hrs/wk) pharmacist

31

22

34

40

12

10

Number of full-time pharmacists (at least 30 hours per week) who left the employ of pharmacies during the pharmacies’ most recently completed fiscal year?

113

83

63

82

72

92

Number of part-time pharmacists (< 30 hours per week) who left the employ of pharmacies during the pharmacies’ most recently completed fiscal year?

52

23

25

25

32

22

In most recent fiscal year, number of pharmacies that have cut back the hours of their pharmacy due to a shortage in pharmacist staff? (% Yes)

5%

8%

5%

5%

1%

3%

In most recent fiscal year, number of pharmacies that have cut back the hours of their pharmacy in order to save pharmacist labor costs? (% Yes)

-

-

-

-

4%

6%

Degree of difficulty (1 = not difficult at all to 5 = extremely difficult) to hire pharmacists

3.8 +/- 1.1

3.5 +/- 1.2

3.7 +/- 1.1

3.5 +/- 1.2

2.8 +/-
1.2

2.6 +/- 1.1

Degree of difficulty (1 = not difficult at all to 5 = extremely difficult) to retain pharmacists

2.5 +/- 0.9

2.4 +/- 1.0

2.4 +/- 1.0

2.3 +/- 1.0

2.1 +/-
0.9

2.0 +/- 0.8

Minnesota Pharmacy Technician Workforcea

Number of technicians employed

1,525

1,034

1,487

1,810

1,800

1,659

Number who work full time (at least 30 hrs/wk)

951

630

911

1,278

1,249

1,160

Total technician hours per week

42,705

28,826

32,049

48,923

51,559

43,130

Ideally, number of additional full time technicians that pharmacies would like to hire over the next year

92

69

92

100

54

74

Realistically, how many additional full time technicians that pharmacies expect to hire over the next year

76

35

51

80

43

42

Ideally, number of additional part time technicians that pharmacies would like to hire over the next year

97

76

102

80

78

67

Realistically, how many additional part time technicians that pharmacies expect to hire over the next year

77

57

64

61

50

39

Maximum hourly wage rate (not including weekend or overtime rates) pharmacies would be willing to pay a newly hired full time technician

$11.96
+/- $3.06

$11.22
+/- $3.49

$12.71
+/- $2.21

$13.81
+/- $2.54

$13.88
+/- $2.02

$14.53
+/- $2.52

Maximum hourly wage rate (not including weekend or overtime rates) pharmacies would be willing to pay a newly hired part time technician

$11.80
+/- $2.24

$11.39
+/- $3.65

$12.53
+/- $2.41

$13.56
+/- $2.32

$13.42
+/- $2.51

$14.35
+/- $2.34

Currently open positions for a full-time (> 30hrs/wk) technician

25

11

17

25

24

31

Currently open positions for a part-time (< 30hrs/wk) technician

56

21

21

21

26

26

Number of full-time technicians (at least 30 hours per week) who left the employ of pharmacies during the pharmacies’ most recently completed fiscal year?

113

70

83

125

124

98

Number of part-time technicians (< 30 hours per week) who left the employ of pharmacies during the pharmacies’ most recently completed fiscal year?

106

62

77

96

86

68

In most recent fiscal year, number of pharmacies that have cut back the hours of their pharmacy due to a shortage in technician staff? (% Yes)

2%

1%

1%

2%

1%

2%

In most recent fiscal year, number of pharmacies that have cut back the hours of their pharmacy in order to save technician labor costs? (% Yes)

-

-

-

-

5%

7%

Degree of difficulty (1 = not difficult at all to 5 = extremely difficult) to hire technicians

2.8 +/- 1.0

2.6 +/- 1.1

2.6 +/- 1.1

2.6 +/- 1.1

2.4 +/- 1.9

2.8 +/- 1.1

Degree of difficulty (1 = not difficult at all to 5 = extremely difficult) to retain technicians

2.5 +/- 0.8

2.3 +/- 0.9

2.2 +/- 0.9

2.2 +/- 0.9

1.9 +/- 0.8

2.2 +/- 0.9

a Estimates for Minnesota pharmacies were based on surveys of pharmacy firms conducted in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. Survey results were assumed to be representative of all Minnesota pharmacies and extrapolated for Minnesota pharmacies overall. Estimates were made from samples of 94 inpatient pharmacies in 2002; from 93 inpatient pharmacies in 2004; 100 inpatient pharmacies in 2006; 124 inpatient pharmacies in 2008; 130 inpatient pharmacies in 2010; and from 113 inpatient pharmacies in 2012.


Table 2: Workforce Estimates for Outpatient Minnesota Pharmacies

2002 Outpatient
N = 970a

2004 Outpatient
N = 997a

2006
Outpatient
N = 1042a

2008
Outpatient
N = 1060a

2010
Outpatient
N = 1035a

2012
Outpatient
N = 1077a

Minnesota Pharmacist Workforce

Number of licensed pharmacists employed

3,406

3,058

3,097

3,299

3,187

3,143

Number who work full time (at least 30 hrs/wk)

2,345

2,033

2,123

2,324

2,241

2,173

Total pharmacist hours per week

88,341

87,235

93,902

85,706

89,501

100,139

Ideally, number of additional full time pharmacists that pharmacies would like to hire over the next year

234

201

248

193

79

125

Realistically, how many additional full time pharmacists that pharmacies expect to hire over the next year

114

104

92

114

37

41

Ideally, number of additional part time pharmacists that pharmacies would like to hire over the next year

439

423

481

391

245

420

Realistically, how many additional part time pharmacists that pharmacies expect to hire over the next year

245

185

194

162

93

108

Maximum hourly wage rate (not including weekend or overtime rates) pharmacies would be willing to pay a newly hired full time pharmacist

$40.34
+/- $4.82

$43.47
+/- $3.84

$48.48
+/- $4.04

$52.30
+/- $4.60

$54.39
+/- $5.17

$55.84
+/- $4.59

Maximum hourly wage rate (not including weekend or overtime rates) pharmacies would be willing to pay a newly hired part time pharmacist

$40.57
+/- $5.60

$43.15
+/- $4.57

$48.27
+/- $5.06

$51.86
+/- $6.25

$53.68
+/- $5.69

$55.60
+/- $4.54

Currently open positions for a full-time (> 30hrs/wk) pharmacist

120

92

107

124

22

26

Currently open positions for a part-time (< 30hrs/wk) pharmacist

211

157

189

149

39

71

Number of full-time pharmacists (at least 30 hours per week) who left the employ of pharmacies during the pharmacies’ most recently completed fiscal year?

291

344

310

286

235

256

Number of part-time pharmacists (< 30 hours per week) who left the employ of pharmacies during the pharmacies’ most recently completed fiscal year?

171

151

182

162

138

164

In most recent fiscal year, number of pharmacies that have cut back the hours of their pharmacy due to a shortage in pharmacist staff? (% Yes)

10%

8%

8%

4%

1%

2%

In most recent fiscal year, number of pharmacies that have cut back the hours of their pharmacy in order to save pharmacist labor costs? (% Yes)

-

-

-

-

10%

12%

Degree of difficulty (1 = not difficult at all to 5 = extremely difficult) to hire pharmacists

3.5 +/- 1.3

3.4 +/- 1.3

3.7 +/- 1.2

3.3 +/- 1.2

2.5 +/1 1.0

2.5 +/- 1.1

Degree of difficulty (1 = not difficult at all to 5 = extremely difficult) to retain pharmacists

2.2 +/- 1.0

2.2 +/- 1.0

2.4 +/- 1.0

2.3 +/- 1.0

2.0 +/- 1.0

2.1 +/- 1.0

Minnesota Pharmacy Technician Workforcea

Number of technicians employed

4,570

4,822

4,753

4,916

4,666

5,133

Number who work full time (at least 30 hrs/wk)

2,428

2,453

2,779

3,263

2,790

2,957

Total technician hours per week

118,478

123,164

128,410

119,930

126,089

144,871

Ideally, number of additional full time technicians that pharmacies would like to hire over the next year

257

199

434

504

196

256

Realistically, how many additional full time technicians that pharmacies expect to hire over the next year

177

137

190

209

85

123

Ideally, number of additional part time technicians that pharmacies would like to hire over the next year

413

443

680

513

541

638

Realistically, how many additional part time technicians that pharmacies expect to hire over the next year

356

314

536

397

341

435

Maximum hourly wage rate (not including weekend or overtime rates) pharmacies would be willing to pay a newly hired full time technician

$10.02
+/- $3.27

$10.44
+/- $2.67

$10.77
+/- $2.32

$10.89
+/- $2.18

$11.72
+/- $3.05

$11.83
+/- $2.55

Maximum hourly wage rate (not including weekend or overtime rates) pharmacies would be willing to pay a newly hired part time technician

$9.71
+/- $3.25

$9.76
+/- $2.60

$10.34
+/- $2.25

$10.44
+/- $2.08

$11.28
+/- $3.11

$11.60
+/- $2.53

Currently open positions for a full-time (> 30hrs/wk) technician

74

94

122

125

89

80

Currently open positions for a part-time (< 30hrs/wk) technician

177

139

278

243

146

202

Number of full-time technicians (at least 30 hours per week) who left the employ of pharmacies during the pharmacies’ most recently completed fiscal year?

312

420

483

522

349

450

Number of part-time technicians (< 30 hours per week) who left the employ of pharmacies during the pharmacies’ most recently completed fiscal year?

462

504

627

606

366

457

In most recent fiscal year, number of pharmacies that have cut back the hours of their pharmacy due to a shortage in technician staff?

1%

1%

1%

1%

<1%

2%

In most recent fiscal year, number of pharmacies that have cut back the hours of their pharmacy in order to save technician labor costs?

-

-

-

-

10%

11%

Degree of difficulty (1 = not difficult at all to 5 = extremely difficult) to hire technicians

2.7 +/- 1.2

2.7 +/- 1.2

3.0 +/- 1.2

2.8 +/- 1.2

2.6 +/- 1.1

2.8 +/- 1.2

Degree of difficulty (1 = not difficult at all to 5 = extremely difficult) to retain technicians

2.3 +/- 1.0

2.3 +/- 1.0

2.4 +/- 1.0

2.3 +/- 1.0

2.2 +/- 1.0

2.3 +/- 1.0

a Estimates for Minnesota pharmacies were based on surveys of pharmacy firms conducted in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. Survey results were assumed to be representative of all Minnesota pharmacies and extrapolated for Minnesota pharmacies overall. Estimates were made from samples 170 outpatient pharmacies in 2002; 184 outpatient pharmacies in 2004; 661 outpatient pharmacies in 2006; 642 outpatient pharmacies in 2008; 527 outpatient pharmacies in 2010; and 500 outpatient pharmacies in 2012.

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