Malaysia Pharmacist's Salary Survey 2022

Manfye Goh's picture
Ts. Mohd Ghazali Ismail's picture

Manfye Goh and Ts. Mohd Ghazali Ismail

Apr 27, 2022 . 10 min read

Manfye Goh's picture

Malaysia Pharmacist's Salary Survey 2022

To date, there are 21,760 [1] licensed pharmacists in Malaysia. With roughly 13,000 [2] working in the government sector including military pharmacy and university hospital, 6,364 [3] working in community pharmacy and wholesale pharmacy (License A holder), and the rest in other fields such as pharmaceutical companies, academic, maritime pharmacy, veterinary pharmacy and startup tech companies at the time of writing.

Other than pharmacists in the government sector, there is low salary transparency in our professions, meaning that one pharmacist might not know if he is compensated fairly compared to others with similar entry level. As the career progresses, due to differences in work setting and background, geographical location, demand and experience, the uncertainty about salary transparency becomes prominent.

In April 2022 (11 April - 19 April 2022), we conducted an anonymous Malaysia Pharmacist Salary Survey, and a total of 232 pharmacists from multiple pharmacy fields responded to our survey. The purpose of this survey is to gain insights into how certain demographics, geographical locations, pharmacist fields, and past experience determine one's salary.

Let’s start to explore the survey with the demographic of the participant and their academic qualification:

Respondent Demographics:

64.5% of the respondents are female and 42.9% of the respondents are male. The median age of the respondent is around 27 years old to 30 years old which largely corresponds to the respondent who had been practising for 3 to 6 years as a pharmacist.

The majority of the respondents come from the Selangor and Kuala Lumpur areas. The distribution of respondents is correlated with the distribution of community pharmacies in Malaysia.

The majority of the respondents have undergraduate degrees as their highest education. It is common as their age is mainly within the range of 27-30, most pharmacists choose not to pursue their education but come to practice.

About 17% of our respondents have a non-pharmacy related certificates such as IT, first aid, MBA, and digital marketing which further enhance their competitive level in their own industry.

Professional Experiences of Respondent

There are various types of pharmacists from different fields responded. We categorized mainly as below:

  • Community RX: include pharmacist in community pharmacy and pharmacy business owner
  • Government RX: include government pharmacist working in the hospital, JKN, or enforcement
  • Pharma RX: include pharmacist in pharmaceutical factories and pharmacists in multinational drug companies
  • Private Hospital RX: pharmacist in a private hospital
  • Other RX: GLC company pharmacist, tech startup pharmacist, research pharmacist and academic pharmacist

Although there are various numbers of field experience submitted, we largely categorized it into 3 main groups based on their experience level in their current field:

  • Amateur Pharmacist: less than years of experience in their current field
  • Intermediate Pharmacist: 3-7 years of exp in their current field
  • Expert Pharmacist: more than 7 years of exp in their current field

What is the salary of our respondent?

Some of our respondents responded that they have bonuses for various months, in order to reflect the actual situation, we took an approach of calculating yearly salary instead of monthly salary in our analysis.

Our yearly salary is calculated by:

Yearly Salary = Monthly Salary x 12

And if respondents declare that they have 1 month or more than 1-month bonus,

Yearly Salary = Monthly salary x 13

We started to look into the overview of each type of pharmacist by classifying them into 3 different groups, amateurs with less than 3 years experience (0-3 years), intermediate experience ( 3-7 years), and lastly seniors with > 7 years experience in each type of pharmacist.

The box plot above shows an overview comparison between the different levels of experience in each group and the median salary (the medium line in the box) for each type of pharmacist.

If we compare the amateurs (Blue) between groups, it is noticed that government pharmacists (RM 50,000) have a lower starting salary as compared to other types of pharmacists. This will remain true for intermediate experience groups (Red).

When proceeding towards the senior level (green), government pharmacist salaries (RM 87,000) are higher than community pharmacists (RM 70,800) with an equal level of experience. This might be due to the increment of UF48 and the oversupply of community pharmacists.

Coming to the rate of salary increment based on field experience, the rate of salary increment is slowest for community pharmacists whereas, in the 7th year of practice, the salary of the government pharmacist will be equal to the community pharmacist. It is noted that some of the respondents claim that they have target-based bonuses and sales bonuses associated with their salaries, but most of the respondents don't claim such an offer in their response.

Private hospitals and Pharma Pharmacists have a better increment in their salary in their career path as they can be promoted to a senior manager or head of the department with their experiences whereas it's hard for community pharmacists, especially small and medium branch pharmacists to excel to a higher level.

This leads us to another question:

Is a bigger chain pharmacist offering a higher salary?

Similarly, we also divided the experience level into 3 groups and compared independent and small chain pharmacies, medium-chain pharmacies and large chain pharmacies.

It is noticed that small (RM76,700) and medium-chain (RM 85,150) will offer higher salaries than large chain pharmacies (RM 66,000) for amateurs (blue). However, for intermediate experience pharmacies (red) the average salaries drop, this might be due to the pharmacist owning a share in the pharmacy.

Lastly, the experienced pharmacist (green) working in the large chain (RM 102,000) has higher salaries than the small chain pharmacies (RM 54,000). It is to be reminded that these salaries are excluded from equities earned by the pharmacists, the earnings might be different if added. However, most of our small and medium-chain pharmacist respondent doesn't declare that they have equity in the company.

Is Pharmacist's salary lower on another side of the country?

Zooming into amateur salaries offered according to geographical location, it is noticed that Johor (RM 70,400), Malacca (RM 70,100) and Negeri Sembilan (RM 71,000) offered the highest salaries for amateurs pharmacist. Whereas places like Kelantan, Kedah, Pahang, and Perak have a lower initial salary for community pharmacists.

It is surprising to us that Sabah and Sarawak don’t have a higher salary as the rumour, it might be due to a lack of participants and data collected, however, the data collected also shows that both states are in the high tier of initial salary offered in community pharmacist.

Comparison with other countries

When we compare our entry-level pharmacist salaries across a few countries, it is noticed that our yearly salary is in the low range among the selected countries. Our neighbour countries like Thailand (19,682 USD), Indonesia (24,423 USD) and Singapore (37,120 USD) offer a higher salary for pharmacists as compared to ours (14,238 USD).

How about job satisfaction?

Overall respondents are satisfied with their careers, the satisfaction level is lowest in private hospitals and community pharmacists with an average of 5.5 satisfaction among the respondents.

If we split the respondent according to their field experience group, it is found that satisfaction increases with field experience except for community pharmacists respondents. It might be due to the repeating job scope in community pharmacists.

Words from authors:

Lastly, we sincerely want to thank all the 232 pharmacists who were willing to spend their time and their salary information selflessly. We hope that with the information provided by you all we can make everyone have a clearer picture of the condition of salary in our professions.

As for junior pharmacists, we also hope that our small survey and analytics can help you do better career planning in your career pathway. There are multiple opportunities in this profession, don't just limit yourself to a few offers, when you see the bigger picture, you know what you are worth.

If you have other questions on the salary survey, like what you want to see in the future, or a more in-depth comparison, do pm us or comment in our post, and we will answer them accordingly.


This survey is designed in a way such that no identifiable personal information is collected. All the data published based on respondents' feedback and the data can be obtained here.


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