Monday, May 29, 2017

How many veterinarians in Australia? What do they earn? And answers to other burning questions.

The Australian Veterinary Workforce Survey 2016 findings are out.

The Australian Veterinary Association teamed up with State and Territory Veterinary Boards and the Australian Veterinary Boards Council to conduct the 4th biennial workforce survey of veterinarians in Australia.

The first thing I learned when I read the Australian Veterinary Workforce Survey 2016 is that there are 11,418 registered veterinarians in Australia.

The second thing I learned is that they’re not great at doing surveys. The response rate was 14 per cent! I know people get survey fatigue, but sheesh, this is a good one producing some useful data. And a great excuse to sit down with a cuppa for ten minutes!!!

Nonetheless, there were some interesting findings.

Most respondents (89%) were working in a clinical role, with group private practice accounting for 49%. The trend away from solo private practice continues – 10% in 2016, compared to 20% of respondents in 2014 and 30 per cent in 2012. Why is it so? The responsibility and demands of practice are massive and it’s a lot to sustain by oneself.

Females outnumber male full-time vets in 21 out of 28 work categories. Males outnumber women in beef cattle, dairy cattle, export certification, meat inspection, pig practice and poultry practice.

Around 6 per cent of respondents were specialists.

Interestingly, 13 per cent were considering NOT working as a veterinarian. Eleven per cent were not working in a veterinary role, the majority because they were retired (37%).

Median clinical work hours were 40, with female respondents working 6 hours less than men. Less than half (43%) did on call work, 37% female clinicians versus 53% male. The median on call hours per week was 30. Stack that onto a 40-hour working week and that’s a heck of a load.

“Part-time” was defined as less than 30 hours per week, which applied 26% of female respondents and 17% of males. I suspect this number will grow in the future.

Remuneration was interesting. The most common income categories were $60-80K and $80-100. Yep. When you consider the training, responsibility and costs of actually becoming a vet, this is staggeringly low. And the good old gender pay gap bites us too – 53% of males earned over $100k, compared with 16 per cent of females.

You can read the full report here.


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