Episode #187 – The Veterinary Job Opportunities That Exist in the Animal Health Industry, Part 1

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #187 - The Veterinary Job Opportunities That Exist in the Animal Health Industry, Part 1
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Julea: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health Executive Recruiter and Veterinary Recruiter, Stacy Pursell, founder, and CEO of The VET Recruiter, 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 and Veterinary organizations 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 different Veterinary job opportunities that exist in the Animal Health and Veterinary industry. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Julea. As always, I’m glad to be here.

Julea: Stacy, correct me if I am wrong, but this has been a trend during the past several years, is that correct? Veterinary professionals looking for jobs in the Animal Health industry?

Stacy: You are correct. This has been a trend, and that is one of the reasons I wanted to address this topic today. I get questions about it frequently, so I thought this podcast episode would be a great way to share information about Veterinary job opportunities that are available in industry.

Julea: Stacy, what are some of the options that are available to veterinarians working in clinical practice? Are there other areas in which they can work besides industry?

Stacy: There are other roles for veterinarians outside of veterinary clinical practice and the Animal Health Industry. Some of these areas include government, academia, military, non-profit organizations, and associations.

However, the area I get asked about the most is industry, so I’d like to focus on that area in today’s podcast episode.

Julea: Stacy, how exactly are industry jobs different than clinical practice jobs?

Stacy: That’s a great question. The Animal Health industry is comprised of companies that make products or offer services for pet owners and veterinarians. There is a wide variety of companies that operate within industry. This means that there is a wide range of Veterinary job opportunities in industry.

Julea: How big of a range?

Stacy: A pretty wide range. We’re talking about companies that make:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Vaccines
  • Medical Equipment
  • Medical Supplies
  • Pet Food
  • Insurance
  • Laboratory and diagnostic services
  • Laboratory supplies and equipment

Keep in mind that veterinarians can be hired in any business that makes, provides, or sells these types of products and services. So you can see why this represents a wide range of opportunities.

Julea: I certainly can! But what are the main reasons that people want to make the move from clinical practice to industry?

Stacy: There are a number of different reasons. For example, they could be looking for a new challenge or to broaden their skills. Perhaps they’ve become disillusioned with clinical practice or they’ve developed allergies or suffered some sort of disability. There are some people who are seeking a better quality of life, more flexibility, and better compensation and benefits. I’d have to say that the majority of people I speak with fall into that last category.

Julea: Really? Why do you think that is?

Stacy: Well, what veterinarians tell me is that working in clinical practice is not without its challenges. The hours can be long, and of course, veterinarians work on the weekends and at night. And in this current environment, many practices are taking on new clients while still having to adhere to the COVID-19 pandemic protocols. That makes for a challenging and potentially stressful situation, and as a result, people are exploring their options.

Julea: That makes sense. So you listed the type of companies that work in industry. What are some of the specific positions that are available?

Stacy: There are seven main categories of Veterinary job opportunities in industry. Those categories are:

  1. Professional or Technical Services, also called veterinary affairs or scientific services with some companies
  2. Pharmacovigilance
  3. Regulatory Affairs
  4. Sales & Marketing
  5. Liaison/Cross functional
  6. Business Development
  7. Research & Development

I’d like to talk about each of these seven categories during today’s podcast episode.

Julea: That sounds great! Where would you like to start Stacy?

Stacy: Let’s start with the first category on our list, which is Professional Services. Like I mentioned, some organizations call this by a different name such as Veterinary Affairs, Technical Services or Scientific Services.

Veterinary job opportunities exist within Professional Services for different species of animals. These include companion animal, equine, beef cattle, dairy cattle, poultry, and swine.

There are a variety of responsibilities involved with Professional Services positions. These responsibilities include:

  • Providing product information to veterinarians
  • Presenting seminars to sales staff and practicing veterinarians
  • Speaking about an organization’s products or services
  • Providing technical support to marketing
  • Providing technical training
  • Riding with sales reps
  • Sometimes technical writing is involved
  • Sometimes helping with clinical trials studies is involved

Julea: Stacy, what are the requirements for these jobs? What do clinical veterinarians have to do to be considered for them?

Stacy: First of all, these jobs typically require at least five years of veterinary clinical practice experience. Professional Services is a good transition point from practice to industry, and sometimes you can advance to other jobs and continue developing your career. Sometimes people choose to stay in these jobs for the remainder of their career.

One important thing to know is that these jobs typically require heavy travel, sometimes up to 50% or even 75% travel and often that includes overnight travel. You could be gone on the road three or even four nights per week. The good news is that in many cases, you can secure a company car, or at the very least, a car allowance.

Julea: Stacy, what’s our next category of jobs?

Stacy: Our next category of Veterinary job opportunities in industry is Pharmacovigilance.

A veterinarian who works in Pharmacovigilance handles complaints about a product such as an adverse reaction and they will report the adverse event to the regulatory body and then follow up on those complaints.

This includes handling the reporting and tracking of these complaints and working with regulatory agencies on the reporting. To that end, those in Pharmacovigilance work with a database such as PV Works. They are on the phone in a corporate or home office and spend most of their day in front of a computer. They are not working hands on with pets or with pet owners which is important to know.

And that brings us to our third category.

Julea: Which is what Stacy?

Stacy: Our next category is Regulatory Affairs. People who work within this category are in charge of communications with the appropriate regulatory body, including the FDA, the EPA, the USDA, and even foreign regulatory agencies.

An example of this would be a Regulatory Affairs Manager taking a new drug concept to the FDA and negotiating with the agency about the work that must be done to get the drug approved.

Our fourth category is Sales & Marketing, and I’m going to break this one up into its two parts.

Julea: You mean Sales first and then Marketing?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right Julea. A person in Sales working in industry would travel to potential buyers. In this case, the buyers are Veterinary clinics.

These Salespeople present product information and they take orders, so it makes sense that a person in a Sales role must possess persuasive skills to convince or influence other people to buy products or services.

Julea: What about the Marketing side?

Stacy: On the Marketing side, these are the people who present a company’s products and services to those working within the Veterinary profession. This could include a variety of different things. It could include advertising and working with ad agencies, promotions and presentations.

And yes, there is some travel on the Marketing side, but not as much as there is on the Sales side. On average, Marketing roles typically involve about 25% travel.

As it turns out, Sales and Marketing are actually involved in our fifth category of Veterinary job opportunities in industry.

Julea: Which category is that?

Stacy: That category is Liaison/Cross-Functional positions. These positions are typically found in larger organizations, and they involve veterinarians who serve as a link or bridge within a number of disciplines. As I just mentioned, two of those disciplines are Sales and Marketing.

Some of the other disciplines include Research & Development, Technical Services, and the Executive Function. Candidates for positions such as these must be people with a strong background in business management and organizational skills. They must also have strong soft skills or “people skills.”

Julea: In contrast to some of the positions that we’ve already discussed, I’m guessing that these are not entry-level positions for someone trying to make the move from practice to industry, is that right?

Stacy: That’s correct. These are NOT entry-level positons for someone going from practice to industry. Our next category of Veterinary job opportunities in industry is not entry-level, either.

Julea: Which category is that?

Stacy: This category is Business Development. People in these positions look for potential new products, make deals with other companies, and also foster relationships and negotiate deals with companies in the United States and abroad.

In terms of qualifications, I mentioned that these are not entry-level positions. That is because a business degree is typically required, or an MBA and a technical background is necessary. In addition, they must possess a track record in a business development leadership role with capabilities to manage and support all biz dev activities.

There are more requirements than that, too, because human or veterinary pharmaceutical experience is required. And although these are not entry-level positions, I know a number of veterinarians who work in business development-type roles.

And that brings us to our seventh and final category of Veterinary job opportunities in industry.

Julea: Which one is that?

Stacy: Research & Development, or R&D. There’s good news for people in these roles who like to work with animals, because some of these roles can allow for hands-on work with animals. These are also good positions for those people who have an interest in clinical medicine.

A word of caution, though. Even though some of these positions are open to veterinarians, they might acquire additional training or degrees, such as a Master’s Degree or a PhD.

And that wraps up our seven categories of Veterinary job opportunities that are available in industry for those professionals who want to pursue them.

Julea: Stacy, this is great information and we thank you for all of this valuable knowledge you have shared with our listening audience today. We are just about out of time. Is there anything else that you would like to add before we end today’s episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider?

Stacy: Yes, I do Julea. I want to take a moment to emphasize the importance of working with an experienced recruiter, especially if you are thinking about making the move from clinical practice to industry. As you can see, there is a tremendous amount of information, and if you don’t have access to that information or if you don’t research it, then it might be more of a challenge making that move. This is why you rely upon the experience and expertise of a recruiter.

And I would also say again that you can establish a relationship with a recruiter now, before you actually need one. Recruiters have more contacts with hiring managers than many individuals because their job is to network with hiring managers and know where the jobs are. Good recruiters know more hiring managers and like I said it is there job to know where the jobs are and what the companies need in terms of experience and qualifications.

Not only that, but the most sought-after jobs are not posted on the Internet. Many of them can only be obtained through a recruiter or through networking. A recruiter can be a part of your professional network. These jobs that are often not posted anywhere are part of what is called the “Hidden Job Market,” which we have discussed before on the podcast. This type of job market still exists, even during the pandemic.

The fact of the matter is that your relationship with an experienced recruiter is one of the most critical relationships you will have as you navigate your career. That is because recruiters can open doors for you, and if you are thinking about making the move from practice to industry, you may need the help of a recruiter to help you open those particular doors.

Julea: Stacy, thank you again for all of this great information about Veterinary job opportunities in industry. And for those people who have experience in the Animal Health Industry or Veterinary Profession and are considering a job change, there are plenty of employment opportunities located on The VET Recruiter website, aren’t there Stacy?

Stacy: Yes, there are. For those listeners who want to change their current job situation and are interested in exploring Animal Health jobs or Veterinary jobs, I invite them to visit our website at www.thevetrecruiter.com. We have animal health and veterinary employment opportunities available on our site, and new ones are posted on a regular basis. We also have great resources for animal health and veterinary professionals who are thinking about making a job change on our website.

Julea: 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 Julea and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!