Layer 1

Average salary of non-manager pharmacists rose £2k in 2020

Salary dissatisfaction among non-manager pharmacists rose between 2019 and 2020
Salary dissatisfaction among non-manager pharmacists rose between 2019 and 2020

The average salary of UK non-manager community pharmacists was £38,846 in 2020, according to the C+D Salary Survey

The average salary of the 221 “second or non-manager pharmacists” who completed the 2020 survey – which ran from October 19 to December 10 – increased by £2,078 from £36,768 in 2019.

The increase was more than double the £773 rise reported in the Salary Survey 2019.  

Between 2017 and 2018, salaries for non-manager pharmacists increased by £374.

Dissatisfaction on the rise

The average increase in non-manager salaries in 2020 was not enough to prevent pay dissatisfaction from rising by four percentage points from the previous year up to 50%.

One pharmacist claimed: “Pay has gone down in real terms for pharmacy over last 20 years.”

Another pharmacist agreed, saying: “[Pharmacy] technicians are starting to get the same pay as pharmacists. Piano teachers and plumbers earn more money.

“[I’ve] been on the same pay for 16 years. Considering inflation, I am earning less than I was when newly qualified.”

One pharmacist said: “The pay I receive does not reflect the huge responsibility of the job, high levels of stress and poor work-life balance.”

Another respondent said: “I earn the same hourly rate as I did when I first qualified as a pharmacist, 27 years ago.”

Bonus disappointment

More than two in five non-manager pharmacists (44%) said their pay had increased, with two thirds of these saying the salary rise was by 1-3%.  

Almost half of the respondents (48%) said their pay had stayed the same, while 8% said their salary had decreased.

Three in five (60%) of the respondents said they had not received a bonus in the past year, 10 percentage points more than the previous year.

One pharmacist said: “For the job we have been doing over the pandemic with no pay rise or bonus, I’m honestly disappointed. The abuse we get from customers is horrendous.”

Another pharmacist said they had received a £1,000 bonus for the extra pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The C+D Salary Survey 2020 – the largest UK survey of community pharmacy – ran between October 19 and December 10 and was completed by a total of 1,667 pharmacists and pharmacy staff. C+D's ongoing coverage from the survey can be found on our dedicated hub.

Did your salary increase in 2020?

Christine Gilbert, Community pharmacist

My hourly rate is now £1.33 more than it was 10 years ago. Just to keep up with inflation I should be getting £5.39 an hour more. Wages have fallen in real terms and will continue to do so in these uncertain times. Our profession is still not respected, even after everything we have done throughout the Pandemic.

TC PA, Community pharmacist

I wonder if this increase was a result of working more hours or an increase in hourly rate? Simply asking an overall salary doesn't take into account number of hours worked, other benefits such as pensions and holiday entitlement. The poster below called Dee dee quoted a few trades where pay appears higher but often these people are self employed with no extra benefits.

Unfortunately the "good times" started to decline after the ill fated contract changes in 2005 and the increased number of graduates being churned out. Combine that with the race to the bottom to provide everything for free or pennies and it's no wonder wages have not increased.

Dee dee, Community pharmacist

I've just turned 30. Out of my group of friends I'm the only one who went to university. The rest picked up a trade, joined a company as admin assistant, personal trainer, bricklayer etc etc.

EVERY single one of them now makes much more than £38k per annum. None are regulated to death. None have to pay insurance or registration fees, do CPD, and none had to incur huge debt and a five year degree. None are constantly tiptoeing around life or death disaster which is the case in pharmacy. The 'career' is a complete and utter illusion. 

To any youngster reading this, or newly qualified, get out! Yes, £35k per year might be nice in your mid twenties , but in 30 years you'll be clean burnt out, and still collecting the same paycheck, which will be worth much much less. Get a job with a defined career structure, opportunity, pension benefits and work life balance. Unfortunately pharmacy is absolutely full of barrel scraping cowards, from the top down, who would throw you under the bus in a heart beat. It ain't going to get better. 




cardiff pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist would have started your career at circa £38k...they would not have.

20 years at £38k is the same as staring at £23k and getting 5% pay increase each year. They may end up on more...but it all equals out.

Pharmacy has always been like that...and you could a) go into management in the groups, b) buy your own business.

Dee dee, Community pharmacist


You're forgetting that

a) they didn't have to accumulate circa £60k plus in debt

b) dedicate five years as an unpaid student, during which they instead were in paid employment 

c) don't pay insurance and registration fees

d) aren't working in such high risk roles.

You're sums are all wrong. 



fab fabioso, Locum pharmacist

Yep. Pretty much the only advantage  left in retail pharmacy now is relative job security, useful to have in a pandemic. The comfortable middle class lifestyle pharmacists took for granted up to about 10 years ago is pretty much gone. ( just compare our static wages to house price rises in nicer to live in areas to use one measure).   Even job security will probably go as soon as the multiples can figure out how to send the overwhelming majority of prescriptions via hub and spoke/24 hour vending machines/online apps etc. This point may not be too far away.   

Industry might be promising if they can extend innovations like MRNA to other therapuetic areas alongside Covid Vaccinations, but sadly not every pharmacist can work in industry. Certainly not increasingly old fogeys like myself.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

So you're not happy being a pharmacist...

Angry Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Couldn't have said it better myself. 

Angry Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Joke of a profession now. Not helped by the 'bend over and take it' attitude of majority of people in this profession. Look at the Dr's and Nurses. They don't take any crap. Thankfully I've made moves to get out of Pharmacy sooner rather than later. Go find another mug to rip off GPhC.


Job of the week

Support Pharmacist
Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartl
up to £47,500 dependent on hours (30-40 hours flexible)