Ambition 4 – Diverse and Rewarding Veterinary Careers
After stating the primary aim: “That our diverse veterinary professionals enjoy a broad range of exciting career paths, each one offering stimulating and well- rewarded work“, this section of the report goes on to highlight how poorly we are doing this;
“Half of vets who graduated within the last eight years reported that their careers had not matched their expectations… A further 10% wanted to leave the profession entirely“
Those working in clinical practice are least likely to be satisfied, experience more stress, and more financial concerns. The Vet Futures solutions seems to hint more of us should therefore move away from clinical practice! “There is a strong case for the profession to diversify: not every new graduate should become a clinician.” Raising the profile of vets in public health etc. is stated above any mention of improving job satisfaction in clinical practice.
“Only 17% of vets five or more years after graduating thought that their degree had prepared them ‘very well’ for the work they were doing.” so we clearly need to change the way we educate vets. A shorter degree would relieve some of the financial burden on new graduates, and though the subject of limited species licensure training it raised, it is not explored; “It is beyond the scope of this report to resolve these questions”. Clearly veterinary education is broken, leaving new graduates ill-prepared for the day-to-day reality of general practice.
Changes in the profession:
It’s rapidly becoming increasingly feminized, with increase in number of vets working part-time, and a shift towards external out of hours service providers. The gender pay gap is highlighted, but not explored, as are facts that women are less likely to become practice owners/partners. Salaries are talked about – too low compared to other professions, and FALLING!
Of the 7 recommendations, 5 focus on recruitment and raising the profile of alternative career paths; e.g. a careers hub and enhancing the profile of non-clinical roles. One focuses on education, and finally, one suggests a “study to assess the rewards, recognition and working conditions of vets and veterinary nurses, and the drivers of low and unequal pay“. As a working vet in practice, I’d like to see this recommendation number 18 at the top of the list, but that’s just my view!