“The shortage of vets has been well documented, and although there has been a growing problem for the past ten years, it has exacerbated over the past two years.”
“We have seen our vacancy numbers really jump in percentage points,” those are the words of Ed Taylor BVMS MRCVS, managing director of The Vet Service, who recently sat down for an exclusive interview with That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane.
TheVetService.com is an industry-leading global digital veterinary job and professional development platform.
It provides graduate, locum, and permanent roles along with an expert continuing education webinar service across various countries, including Ireland, the UK, USA, CA, NZ, and Australia.
Its team comprises many experienced professionals – including vets, digital marketers, and senior management members – with some from farming and equine backgrounds.
Its users tend to be veterinary surgeons and vet nurses who use the platform daily for jobs and their continuing education, as we outlined in this news article.
The shortage of vets
Taylor pointed to changing attitudes to working conditions and vets and nurses becoming more aware of their work/life balance, mental health and even an ability to diversify.
He noted that “huge demographic shifts have occurred with a significantly higher proportion of female graduates compared to male graduates now, all of whom have different career aspirations”.
He noted that the growth of the corporate world has also played a “large” factor in the shortage.
Many senior partners are selling out to corporates and retiring, and as a result, some practices are losing that “direct leadership” within what was once a “well-run” family practice.
He continued: “And when it comes to farm vets, where once we always saw farmer’s sons becoming vets, there are very few of these guys out there now, even at student level, and this does not look to be changing anytime soon.”
“The cost of doing a veterinary degree in England now can be upwards of £100,000, which is an unbelievable change from ten years ago.”
“It is a major challenge for the type of students that can now enter the industry.
Retention is a significant aspect that TheVetService works with its clients on.
He stressed that “a good standard of pay by industry level” has to be there.
Also, employers, he notes, most importantly have to realise that vets and nurses place a “huge” focus on time off.
That is the first place to start with employee discussions, he recommends.