Revealed: Female pharmacists may be underpaid by thousands of pounds each year

Exclusive: Female pharmacists may be paid 6% less than their male counterparts, with an estimated loss of over £3,000 per year. 


There is a statistically significant gender pay gap in pharmacy, with a survey by The Pharmaceutical Journal suggesting female pharmacists could be paid on average 6% less than their male colleagues.

The survey of more than 1,100 pharmacists — analysed by independent academic statisticians at the University of Aberdeen — showed a median hourly rate for pharmacists was £24.70 for male pharmacists and £23.10 for women, regardless of whether they are part-time or full-time workers.

Over the course of a year, this 6% pay gap — calculated using official government guidance on reporting gender pay gaps — would equate to an estimated loss of £3,328 for full-time female pharmacists working 40 hours a week compared with their male counterparts.

This overall gender pay gap in pharmacy is similar to a median gender pay gap of 6% reported by LloydsPharmacy for all professional and managerial roles, and the 5% median gender pay gap reported by Boots in March 2018.

However, these are still less than the national median gender pay gap of 9%.

These pay gap figures come after research by the NHS showed that only 36% of senior positions in pharmacy are held by women. This analysis prompted the launch of the ‘Mind the Gap’ initiative by The Pharmaceutical Journal to highlight the issue.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has also been active, holding a Women in Pharmacy seminar and announcing two prizes for women in pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences in June 2018.

Pharmacy leaders expressed their concern at the results. Sandra Gidley, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, said this was a society-wide problem, but that transparency from employers was essential.

“Women still too frequently undervalue themselves and are not great at asking for more money,” she said. ”Until there is much more transparency about pay levels we will not be able to move to a more equitable position.”

Christine Heading, an academic pharmacist and executive committee member of the National Association of Women Pharmacists, called for the pharmacy profession to measure itself against other professions, rather than “burying its head in the sand”. She added: “This manifests in failure to collect data on career progression, salaries, obstacles, challenges, attitudes and performance on a gender basis.”

Leyla Hannbeck, director of pharmacy at the National Pharmacy Association, said: “Pharmacy’s not unique in that respect and these figures reflect wide-ranging and incredibly complex societal issues.

“There are no easy answers but employers must adapt as best they can to support employee’s choices and responsibilities while nurturing their talent.”

Gender pay gap in pharmacy
 Male (n=375)Female (n=734)Total (n=1,109)P-value


Hourly rate
(median, interquartile range)








Source: The Pharmaceutical Journal Salary and Satisfaction Survey 2018. The survey was conducted between 16 July and 3 September 2018. Invitations were sent to 26,785 RPS pharmacist members. Statistical differences were analysed by the non-parametric Mann-Whitney test and were conducted by independent academic statisticians at the University of Aberdeen.



Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Revealed: Female pharmacists may be underpaid by thousands of pounds each year;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2018.20205764

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