Episode #181 – The Opportunities That Still Exist in the Veterinary Profession Despite COVID-19

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #181 - The Opportunities That Still Exist in the Veterinary Profession Despite COVID-19
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health thought leader and executive recruiter and veterinary recruiter, Stacy Pursell provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health Companies and Veterinary Employers hire top talent, while helping animal health and veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast episode, we’ll be talking about the opportunities that still exist in the Veterinary profession despite COVID-19. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julia. As always, I am glad to be here with you.

Julia: Stacy, we recently finished an entire series about what the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed in the marketplace. What will we be discussing today?

Stacy: Contrary to what some people might think, there is still plenty of opportunity in the Veterinary profession right now in terms of jobs and careers. And I’d like to talk about why that is the case and what those in our listening audience can do about it.

Julia: Well, I know that you’re all about being proactive.

Stacy: That is absolutely right! I am definitely all about being proactive because I know that’s necessary for taking advantage of opportunities and being successful. After all, opportunities don’t do you any good if you don’t first recognize them for what they are, and second, take advantage of them.

Julia: Where would you like to start today Stacy?

Stacy: I’d like to start with the job market, specifically with the fact that the job market for veterinarians is not as bad as it is for people who work within other professions.

Julia: Tell us more Stacy.

Stacy: Well, the National Unemployment Rate is currently in double digits, although it did drop a bit in June. Before the pandemic hit, the unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession was anywhere between 0.5% and 1.5%, and while there were some job losses due to the pandemic and the recession that we’re almost certainly in right now, the unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession is nowhere near double digits. More than likely, it’s much lower than that.

Julia: So there are still open jobs and employment opportunities available within the Veterinary profession?

Stacy: Absolutely! And even though more than one million new people apply for unemployment benefits every week, the jobs and opportunities appear to be continuing to rise in the Veterinary profession. As an example, as of yesterday, there were more than 2,900 jobs listed on the American Veterinary Medical Association website. That’s an increase of nearly 400 jobs from what was on the site just a couple of months ago. So what that tells you is that there is still a need for quality job candidates in the market, and one of the reasons for that is there is still a demand for Veterinary care. In fact, there might be even more of a demand right now.

Julia: More of a demand? How is that possible?

Stacy: There are two phenomenon that are happening concurrently that are helping to drive demand right now, and both of them are the result of the pandemic.

First, pet adoptions are on the rise, and there just not on the rise, but they’re booming in some parts of the country. In fact, there are some animal shelters that are running out of pets. This is a trend that is linked directly to the pandemic and the lockdowns. Since people have been staying at home, more of them have been opting for pet ownership as a way to experience companionship.

Julia: That makes sense. With all the lockdowns that have been happening, people have been staying home more often. Some people have been choosing to stay home more even if there is not a lockdown in their state or if restrictions have been lifted.

Stacy: That’s right! And there has been an impact of all that time spent together with their pet.

Julia: What’s that?

Stacy: According to a recent survey by Banfield The Pet Hospital, 84% of people say they feel more attuned to their companion animal’s health after spending more time with them. And 20% also say they are committed to taking their pets to the veterinarian more often for preventive care checkups.

Julia: So basically, it sounds like more people are adopting animals and choosing to own pets and more people are making the decision that they’re going to take care of their pets by making sure they get the care they need. Is that correct?

Stacy: It is! And this increased demand for pets and for Veterinary care is continuing to create demand in the profession for qualified candidates. Remember that it is all about demand.

It is true that the hospitality industry has been decimated by the virus and the pandemic, and that is very unfortunate. However, other industries have done well, including healthcare and some parts of the manufacturing industry. You can include the Veterinary profession among those that are continuing to do well despite the downturn. It is doing more than holding its own, and that is why there is plenty of opportunity within the profession.

Julia: So what do professionals say when you call them about a job opportunity that could be better than the one they have right now?

Stacy: It varies. Some people will say, “It’s not a good time to make a move.” Another one is, “I think I should wait until the pandemic is over or at least until it’s blown over.” Now these are bright professionals who are excellent candidates within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. But you can probably guess what is holding them back from exploring these opportunities.

Julia: Fear?

Stacy: Yes, that is correct. We’ve discussed fear on many occasions on this podcast, so I don’t think we need to delve too far into how it can hold people back from doing things that are ultimately in their best interests.

Julia: If I remember correctly, even before the pandemic began you would encounter some people who would say, “now is not a good time to make a move”, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. So, nothing has really changed for some professionals in terms of the marketplace.  Some people are not willing to explore opportunities for the same reason they did not explore them six months, a year, or two years ago. That reason for some people is fear.

These professionals are fearful because they’re not only envisioning the worst-case scenario, but they’re also anticipating such a scenario is actually going to happen. In fact, some of them were assuming that it was going to happen, and they used that assumption as a reason not to take action, move forward, or explore any opportunities.

Julia: Well, I suppose the pandemic does present more reason to be afraid these days.

Stacy: It can, if you look at it that way. Whereas some people might see another reason to be afraid, I see another excuse to allow fear to dictate your decisions. It’s okay to be careful or even apprehensive, but it’s another to allow fear to stop you from doing what could be in your best interests simply because you become fixated on the worst-case scenario.

And I have three big reasons why professionals should be willing to take advantage of the opportunity that exists in the Veterinary profession right now.

Julia: Okay, what reasons are those?

Stacy: First, the marketplace and the job market are continuing to evolve. The pandemic has put a tremendous amount of emphasis on technology, which means that there are more job and career opportunities being created that deal more with technology. One of these areas is that of telemedicine. More employers are looking to hire full-time telemedicine veterinarians to care for the pets of patients opting for virtual care. You can expect employers to continue emphasizing the technological aspect of the profession and for new and more job opportunities to result from this continued emphasis.

The second reason is that other people within the Veterinary profession are choosing to “sit on the sidelines” right now in terms of their career. Mark Twain has been credited with quite a few quotes, but one of my favorites of his is this one: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”  Some people in the Veterinary profession are taking a “wait and see” attitude when it comes to the marketplace.

Think of it this way: every person who decides to “sit on the sidelines” during this pandemic is one less person with whom you have to compete in the job market. When other people are making the conscious decision to not explore employment opportunities, it is the perfect time for you to do so. You increase your chances for success and advancement based on the odds alone and you increase those odds further when you adopt a proactive mindset and execute a corresponding plan of action.

Julia: That makes perfect sense! Stacy, what’s the third reason?

Stacy: The third reason is that sometimes you can’t control chaos, and when that happens, there can be opportunity in the chaos. According to a new study published by the Pew Research Center on Monday of this week, around one in five adults in the United States have either moved or know someone who did because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, 28% of adults who relocated said they moved to reduce their risk of contracting the virus.

Julia: Wow, that’s almost one-third of the adults. I guess if you think about it, though, that does make sense.

Stacy: It does, and I know that some professionals out there think they should “hunker down” and not do anything right now, including exploring new employment opportunities. But this virus and this pandemic does not take other people’s plans into consideration, and perhaps there attitude should be that if they can’t control the chaos, then perhaps they can take advantage of it and benefit from it.

Julia: How’s that?

Stacy: There are people who are relocating to a part of the country where they believe they will be safer. There are Veterinary jobs all over the United States. If there’s a professional who lives in what is considered a “hot zone” or a place where the virus is surging, some people have decided to consider exploring jobs in parts of the country where the virus is not as prevalent. We have also seen people in areas of the country with stricter lockdowns wanting to move to places where the lockdowns are not as strict.

The point is this. If there is opportunity you can be proactive and take advantage of it. You do not have to let fear prevent you from moving forward in your career. There are still opportunities out there.

Julia: Stacy, we are just about out of time. Is there anything that you’d like to add before we end today’s episode?

Stacy: Yes, there is. There are two things that I’d like to add, actually. First, although there is still demand for Veterinary care right now, it’s important to remember that pet owners cut across all demographics and work within all professions. The longer this pandemic and the recession continues, the more likely the number of some pet owners who are not able to pay for care will increase. The current dynamics of the Veterinary marketplace are complicated, and that’s why veterinary businesses should stay as up to date as they can and be as flexible as possible as they navigate the effects of the pandemic.

Second, this is not only a good time to explore employment opportunities within the Veterinary profession, but it’s a great time to do so. This is especially the case for those people who are determined to not allow fear to dictate their decisions and who recognize the evolution of the job market and can identify the opportunities that exist within it.

Julia: Stacy, thank you once again so much for all of this great information. And for those people who are considering a job change, there are plenty of employment opportunities on The VET Recruiter website, aren’t there?

Stacy: Yes, there are. For those listeners who want to change their current situation and are interested in exploring Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs, I invite them to visit our website at www.thevetrecruiter.com.

Julia: Once again, the website address for The VET Recruiter is www.thevetrecruiter.com. Stacy, as always, thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: It has been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!