The contribution of pharmacists to the development of a more efficient, productive and integrated healthcare system has been long discussed, mainly around the potential deployment of their clinical skills and knowledge to optimise medication use. When considering policy change in the pharmacy sector, understanding pharmacists’ preferences on different aspects of job opportunities when considering their career prospects is crucial. This paper aims to understand Australian pharmacists’ employment preferences using a discrete choice experiment.
A labelled discrete choice experiments (DCE) was developed incorporating six key sectors of employment for pharmacy graduates: hospital pharmacy, community pharmacy, primary healthcare setting, pharmaceutical industry, government/academia, and non-pharmacy related sector. Each alternative is described by five attributes: role, flexible work schedule, career opportunities, geographic location, and annual salary. The DCE was embedded in the PAMELA (Pharmacy in Australia: Measuring Employment, Labour decisions, and Activity) survey, which was designed to investigate the employment preferences and work activities of Australian pharmacists.
Generally hospital pharmacy was more desirable than pharmaceutical industry and non-pharmacy related sector while being less desirable than primary care settings. We also found that pharmacists significantly preferred higher annual salary than less and they preferred expanded roles in community pharmacy and primary care settings, of which the marginal willingness-to-pay values are about one third of pharmacists’ average annual salary. Our findings show that geographic location generally is the most important non-monetary job characteristics with the largest monetary values.
Our findings has policy implications for the pharmacy workforce in terms of evidence on the willingness of the current pharmacist population to a reform of the integration of pharmacists in primary care network. We also provide some insights on what attracts PDHs to clinical and non-clinical sectors, which could be crucial in health workforce planning.
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