Men occupy the majority of senior roles in the sector despite pharmacy being a female-dominated profession, research has revealed.

A new study by researchers at the University of Birmingham School of Pharmacy showed that women are under-represented in senior pharmacy roles.

The researchers found that 36% of those occupying the most senior roles of pharmacy are female, compared to 64% who are male.

Despite this, pharmacy is a female dominated profession.

According to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), as of August 2017, 61% of registered pharmacists were female and 39% were males.

Slow progresses

Co-author of the report Dr Hannah Batchelor said that ‘it may take time for women to reach those senior positions as the tipping point in gender balance in pharmacy occurred 17 years ago’.

She continued: ‘A career break may lengthen the time it takes to reach such seniority but the importance of diversity in the workplace should facilitate all staff being able to balance their career with their family life regardless of gender.

‘The first step in addressing gender balance is awareness of the current balance of gender at all levels within an organisation to ensure that measures are taken to support a diverse workforce.’

'Diversity improves performances'

Consultancy company Pharmacy Complete director Deborah Evans argued that ‘diversity at senior levels and on boards improves performance’.

She added: ‘We believe it has never been more important to have effective decision-making representative of the profession, which has more women than men.

‘While we have some very effective, highly capable and competent women in the profession, more of them need to be encouraged and supported to help shape the future of pharmacy to ensure the leadership in the profession reflects the diversity of workforce.’

A 2018 Women in Leadership Working Group hosted by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) will address the lack of gender balance across the profession – building on the work already started in this area by the RPS and the National Association of Women Pharmacists (NAWP).