Australian pharmacists - more females, more born overseas

The latest report on the pharmacy labour force from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that the proportion of female pharmacists continues to increase. Pharmacy Labour Force 1995 shows that the proportion of female pharmacists in community (retail) pharmacy increased from 37.6% in 1992 to 39.9% in 1995, and in hospital pharmacy from 64.0% in 1992 to 66.9% in 1995.

Head of the AIHW's Labour Force Unit, Mr John Harding, said that the proportion of female new graduates has stabilised at just over 60% after achieving a high of 66.7% in 1991.

The report also shows that the ethnic composition of new graduates in pharmacy has changed significantly. Mr Harding said that the proportion born in Australia fell from 73.4% in 1991 to 56.7% in 1996. Over this period, the proportion of Australian permanent resident new graduates born in Vietnam increased from 3.5% to 16.6% and in Hong Kong from 1.6% to 5.4%. The proportion born in Asian countries altogether increased from 10.6% to 32.9% during the 5 years.

Other findings of the report included:

  • In 1997, females made up 62.1% of Australian permanent resident students commencing undergraduate pharmacy training.
  • There were 10,722 community (retail) and 1,950 hospital pharmacists employed in 1995, with an additional 755 pharmacists employed in other fields.
  • In contrast to medicine, the proportion of community (retail) pharmacists employed in rural areas (24.8%) was similar to the proportion of the population living in rural areas (27.6%) in 1995.
  • Australia had a similar number of community (retail) pharmacists per 100,000 population as Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  • 52.5% of female community (retail) pharmacists and 32.3% of female hospital pharmacists worked part-time, compared with 19.4% of male retail pharmacists and 6.3% of male hospital pharmacists.

7 August 1998


Further information: John Harding, ph. 02 6244 1153.
For media copies of the report: Lena Searle, ph. 02 6244 1032.