Almost three in 10 pharmacy employees feel less secure in their jobs than they did a year ago, C+D has learned.
Of the 1,046 employees who responded to the C+D Salary Survey 2015, which is due to close tomorrow (November 11),said they rated their job security as worse than last year. This figure was slightly higher among the large multiples, with 35 per cent of employees at the Co-operative, Lloydspharmacy and Boots reporting the same concern.
One respondent said they had been offered redundancy and then re-employment on a "much lower" salary on the day their pharmacy was taken over by another business, while another admitted that the "oversupply of pharmacists" and American ownership of their employer had caused "some apprehension".
Seventy-five per cent of 48 contractors who responded to this year's survey said they had made cutbacks to their business over the last 12 months, with 30 per cent having reduced staff hours.
Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) chairman Mark Koziol told C+D it was "unsurprising" that so many pharmacists felt less secure in their jobs. The growing number of pharmacists meant many feared employers would take an "opportunistic" approach and try to reduce their employees' pay as a result, he said.
"The underlying cause of pharmacists now feeling less secure in their jobs is because the government has consistently failed to effectively harness the medicines expertise of pharmacists. If it could rise to the challenge, then it would go a long way in improving the job security of pharmacists," he argued.
Kate Westbrook, marketing manager at charity Pharmacist Support, agreed the oversupply of pharmacists had caused a rise in insecurity.
"Our specialist employment advisor [has seen] an increase in cases that relate to disciplinary action [or] termination by an employer. The most common reasons are not meeting increased MUR targets and pharmacists being disciplined for mistakes," she told C+D.
Last month, responses to the C+D Salary Survey 2015 showed seven out of 10 pharmacy employees were stressed at work.