What’s best for you? Pharmacy locum work or permanent pharmacy roles?
This is a question we get asked a lot, should someone go in to pharmacy locum work or source a permanent pharmacy role. Is there work in both sectors? Yes. Can you locum before going into perm? Absolutely! Which is better? Depends on the person. Is it subjective? Incredibly!
So lets go through some benefits for both.
Pharmacy locum work isn’t for everyone, it can be hard not having a schedule. Even though work is abundant right now, you can’t guarantee where and when you will be working.
But what it does offer is a different kind of freedom and independence that Permanent pharmacy jobs don’t. You want to take a working holiday to Cornwall or Scotland you absolutely can do that!
Working with pharmacy agencies such as ourselves will relieve some of that hassle of independent work, from negotiating rates to payment queries and general questions about working with different clients before your shift!
Whereas permanent pharmacy jobs will offer stability, that knowledge of where your going to be working and how often you are going to be working so you can plan your budget and schedule around your profession.
A pharmacy agency might tell you one is better than the other but quite frankly it comes down to preference, but enough from me. Lets hear a bit from someone that’s been in both professions.
Now from Grant, who has been in the industry with both Pharmacy locum work and permanent pharmacy roles for over 6 years now!
I’m always sceptical about using the word ‘obviously’ because it’s a word people throw into sentences without much thought. However, in this instance it’s spot on – Pharmacy has obviously changed massively in the last few years; from increased demand of services to very steeply increased rates based on a number of factors.
So what is the lay of the land like in Pharmacy now?
Whether to be a locum or an employed member of staff is always something very personal, so I’ll touch on pros and cons of each.
First place to start is with locum rates. Locums are seeing the highest rates they have ever seen on average. So, if your primary goal at the moment is money, then being a locum is absolutely the best way to go and no one would even argue this.
Rates across the whole of the UK have soared and there’s pretty much no exceptions; newly qualified Pharmacists still receiving those rates, if you’re in a densely populated area such as London or Birmingham where you may have typically seen lesser rates, they’re receiving the higher rates now too.
There’s other benefits of course which have always been the case in any type of contractor role, you will meet lots of new people, you will work in lots of different environments to give you an idea of what you type of place you like to work, you keep things fresh as sometimes it can be mundane going into the same place day in and day out.
Of course being a locum has its drawbacks; you’re not guaranteed work, you have the responsibility of not only finding work and managing the work but also your finances, you don’t have as many employment rights and you have no additional benefits. There are some more but these are the most predominant ones.
So why look at being an employee? As a knock on effect of the locum rates going up, salaried jobs have also gone up too, not as much as what locum rates have done but they’ve still increased somewhat.
Put on top of that the other reasons why you’d look at being an employee; job progression, working your way up the business to higher positions and into a field which you truly love for example working in commercial or clinical pharmaceutical companies or working in hospital settings.
Coupled with that you will actually receive proper training and proper support unlike locums who typically get left to their own devices.
You have job security. Perhaps you’ve just had a child or perhaps you’ve just taken out a mortgage and need a bit of stability then permanent employment might be for you. You’ll have additional benefits, holiday pay, potentially healthcare cover, sick pay etc.
Downsides of being an employee are exactly what the pros of being a locum are; you are likely to work in one place, you’re likely to see the same faces day after day. So if you’re looking to keep things fresh then permanent work might not be for you.
It really is a case of working out what suits you best at the time of life that you’re in. I often have conversations with Pharmacists who aren’t sure what is right for them so we have a chat about where they’re at in their life, so if you are reading this and are curious then happy to have a chat with anyone.