A Looming Joblessness Crisis for New Pharmacy Graduates and the Implications It Holds for the Academy

Daniel L. Brown, PharmD


Am J Pharm Educ. 2013;77(5) 

In This Article

Implications for the Academy

Unfortunately, it is too late to call for the academy to pursue a more prudent plan of growth. To paraphrase an old cliché, "The horse is out of the barn." The pendulum has swung so far to the supply side that the market is about to take over, forcing the engine of academic growth to finally grind to a halt. But there will be a high price to pay in the form of a pharmacist surplus for years to come until the market establishes a new manpower equilibrium.

Ironically, academic expansion is not only contributing to new graduate joblessness, but it has also functioned to mask the problem. By creating a plethora of pharmacy practice faculty positions, the academy has provided employment for hundreds of pharmacists with advanced training who might have otherwise brought more attention to a weakening job market outside of academia. Consequently, when academic growth subsides and vacant faculty positions are no longer plentiful, pharmacists coming out of residency training will find it increasingly difficult to secure jobs commensurate with their abilities—particularly if they have specialized in ambulatory care.

New PharmD and/or residency graduates will not be the only victims of academic overgrowth. The academy itself will suffer repercussions. Awareness of new graduate joblessness will eventually lead to a decrease in applications to pharmacy colleges and schools, making it more difficult to meet enrollment targets. Risks of diminished enrollment will jeopardize anticipated tuition revenue that has been counted on to fund faculty positions and/or new facilities. Economic pressures may inevitably force downsizing of programs, if not outright closing of some colleges and schools. If that occurs, some faculty positions likely will be lost.