More than 50% of pharmacy technicians have considered leaving the profession in the past year, results of a snapshot survey by The Pharmaceutical Journal have suggested.
The 236 respondents also painted a picture of a profession taking on more responsibility, doing work that is not properly resourced and not feeling sufficiently remunerated for it.
Only 32% of respondents said their pay was appropriate for the job they do, with 67% believing they should be paid more. Nearly 80% of the pharmacy technicians who took part said they have more or different responsibilities than those listed in their job description.
More than one in ten said they have had to take time off work because of stress and, worryingly, almost 18% of respondents said they had been the victim of bullying from another member of staff within the past year.
However, 81% of the 236 respondents — the majority of whom were based in hospital settings — would still recommend becoming a pharmacy technician to others, and 81% would also recommend their main sector of practice to others.
The results reflect a rapid pace of change in the profession, pharmacy technicians say.
Helen Pinney, a pharmacy technician at a GP practice in Ealing, London, said: “Our role has expanded laterally and longitudinally, and continues to do so. It makes sense that the resources don’t quite match.”
Tess Fenn, president of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK), said the organisation was clear that both respect and recognition were important for all employees.
“Being appreciated is crucial to increasing motivation and satisfaction as well as health and wellbeing,” she said, adding that work-related stress also played an important role in overall job satisfaction for pharmacy technicians.
“As workload pressures are set to continually increase due to the ageing population, polypharmacy, increased prescription volume, policy changes with expansion of roles and services, APTUK acknowledges that work-related stress is an issue of growing concern and a possible cause of individuals leaving their profession.”
“Alongside this, APTUK has continuously raised that there are not enough pharmacy technicians being trained to meet the current and future workforce demand and this is a significant concern.”
“It is time for the profession to work together on real and tangible points to improve the working lives of pharmacy professionals.”
Snapshot survey of pharmacy technicians: results in full
Do you believe your pay is appropriate for the job you do?
Around 32% of respondents felt their pay was appropriate for the job they do, with 67% believing they should be paid more. Less than 1% thought they should be paid less.
Do you believe your job description matches your actual responsibilities?
A total of 79% have more or different responsibilities to those written in their job description, 20% had about the same, and less than 1% had fewer responsibilities.
Do you believe you have the resources to do your job properly? What do you believe are the barriers to you doing your job properly?
Around 63% believe they do not have the necessary resources to do their job properly, with lack of staff and lack of funding being the top two barriers reported. 37% said they had adequate resources.
To what extent do you feel stressed at work? Have you had a colleague take time off work because of stress over the past year?
Nearly 11% of respondents have had to take time off work due to stress, with 72% reporting a colleague has had to take time off work due to stress within the last year.
Have you been the victim of bullying from another member of staff in the past year?
Almost 18% have been the victim of bullying from another member of staff within the past year.
Have you considered leaving the profession in the past year? Have you considered leaving your current job in the past year?
Around 53% have considered leaving the profession in the last year and 66% have considered leaving their current job.
Would you recommend working as a pharmacy technician to others?
Approximately 81% would still recommend becoming a pharmacy technician to others, and 81% would also recommend their main sector of practice to others.
Do you see your job prospects as better or worse compared to past generations of pharmacy technicians?
A total of 57% of pharmacy technicians believe their job prospects are better than previous generations of pharmacy technicians.
Source: 236 respondents, The Pharmaceutical Journal Salary and Satisfaction Survey 2018. The survey was conducted between 3 September and 15 October 2018. Invitations were sent to 1,999 pharmacy technicians. Respondents were entered into a prize draw for a coffee machine.