How Many Veterinary Jobs Will Go Unfilled by the Year 2030?

It would be nearly impossible for me to overemphasize how much opportunity exists for workers in the Veterinary profession right now. There has been opportunity in the profession for the past several years.

However, there is more opportunity in the profession right now than there has ever been. And as great as that is for Veterinary professionals, there is an excellent chance there will be even more opportunity in the years ahead.

The questions we have to ask (and answer) are these:

  • Just how much more opportunity will there be?
  • What are you prepared to do about it?

The existence of opportunity does not change a person’s life all by itself. You have to do something about the opportunity if you want to take advantage of it and leverage it to your advantage.

Veterinary jobs, now and in the future

I’m about to present a lot of numbers, all of which are central to this topic. They illustrate the current state of the Veterinary profession, as well as what the profession will look like the in the future. Let’s start with the unemployment rate in the profession, which has been nearly non-existent during the past few years. In fact, according to Zippia, since 2013, the unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession has decreased from 1.0% to 0.2%. Based on these numbers, there are few industries (if any) that boasts an unemployment rate lower than that.

Then there is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to the most recent numbers released by the BLS in September of last year, Veterinary jobs are projected to grow by 17% between the years 2020 and 2030. Keep in mind that these are jobs related to veterinarians, people who are a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). In terms of raw numbers, that equates 14,500 more new jobs by the end of 2030 as there were at the beginning of 2020.

In addition, according to the same BLS data there will be 4,400 job openings for veterinarians each year, on average, during the decade. These openings will exist for a number of different reasons—workers leaving for other opportunities, transferring to other occupations, and exiting the workforce (including those who leave through retirement). When you project these numbers over the course of a decade, this equates to 44,000 job openings. Of these 44,000, approximately 14,500 of them will be newly created positions (based on the BLS projections). This leaves 29,500 openings created due to departing employees in existing positions.

Since, as mentioned previously, the unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession is basically non-existent, you would need 44,000 more candidates in the job market by the end of 2030 than there are right now in order to fill that many positions, both new and existing. Will that be the case? From all indications, the answer to that question is a hard “No,” and here’s why.

Veterinary jobs: a workforce in flux

First, we know that the workforce in the Veterinary profession is always in flux. Specifically, there are a certain number of people who retire every year. According to an article in Today’s Veterinary Business in February of 2021, that number is approaching 2,000. Once you multiply that number by 10 to account for the years between 2020 and 2030, we have 20,000 less people working in the Veterinary profession due to retirement. (And that’s if the number of people retiring remains constant. From all indications, though, the number is rising slightly every year due to a number of factors.)

Our next logical metric involves the number of Veterinary graduates that are entering the workforce on a year basis. Hopefully, that number would make up for the number of people who are retiring. According to data from the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), slightly more than 3,000 Veterinary students graduated in 2020.

The good news is that the number of Veterinary graduates has been increasing slightly on a year-over-year basis. The bad news, as mentioned above, is that the number of retirements in the profession is also increasing slightly every year. Once again, we multiply that number by 10 to account for the years between 2020 and 2030, and we have 30,000 new graduates entering the workforce. Now comes the critical math equation:

44,000 jobs overall (both new and existing) – 30,000 new Veterinary graduates = 14,000 open positions

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that there are more unemployed people in the profession than is indicated by the numbers. Even if an extra 400 positions per year are filled by these people or through other means, it still leaves 1,000 open positions per year that employers can not fill because there is no one to fill them. And once again, when you multiply that number by 10 to account for the decade, we’re left with 10,000 open Veterinary jobs with nary a candidate in sight to fill even one of them.

And in light of the numbers that we just examined, that could very well represent a best-case scenario.

What will YOU do about opportunity?

We’ve returned to the two questions posed at the beginning of this article:

  1. Just how much more opportunity will there be?
  2. What are you prepared to do about it?

We already know how much more opportunity there will be. The data suggests there will be 10,000 Veterinary jobs that will go unfilled by the year 2030. What is the answer to the second question? What are you prepared to do about this much opportunity, not just in the future but right now, in the present? Will you acknowledge it and take advantage of it . . . or just let it pass you by?

There is no better time to grow your career in the Veterinary profession. And the only reason that’s going to change is because the future is even brighter than the present in terms of Veterinary jobs and the tremendous opportunities that they represent.

If you’re looking to make a change or explore your employment options, then we want to talk with you. I encourage you to contact us or you can also create a profile and/or submit your resume for consideration.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1. By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.