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Survey Results Confirm Hiring and Retention Challenges for Employers

If there is one thing that is perhaps undebatable, it’s that it has become more difficult to both hire top job candidates and retain current employees in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession during the past several years. And while some, if not most, employers are seeking relief from the numerous obstacles that these challenges present, that’s not likely to happen soon.

At least, not according to the results of a recent survey conducted by The VET Recruiter.

The VET Recruiter sent the survey to professionals working in the Animal Health and Veterinary profession. While the results were insightful, more than anything else, they confirmed the current realities of the job market and employment marketplace.

Let’s start with hiring. There is a shortage of qualified candidates in the Veterinary profession, especially in terms of veterinarians, and those who took the survey agree that this is the case. Ninety-four percent (94%) of those who work in the Veterinary profession believe that there is a workforce shortage within the profession.

However, that sentiment is also shared by those working in the Animal Health industry. That’s because, according to the survey, 90% of those who work in the industry believe there is a workforce shortage. So, despite the ongoing flurry of mergers and consolidations that are occurring within the Animal Health industry, finding qualified candidate still remains a considerable challenge for employers.

The shortage, all by itself, presents hiring challenges for employers, as I’ve discussed in numerous articles and blog posts. Since we’re in a candidate-driven market, candidates have the leverage in hiring situations, especially top candidates. This means that candidates have multiple options, allowing them to be more selective about which jobs they pursue . . . and which ones they do not.

However, what The VET Recruiter survey showed in even greater measure is the breadth and scope of the retention challenges that are currently facing Animal Health and Veterinary employers. And while the candidate shortage may be more pronounced on the Veterinary side, retention issues seem to be just as prevalent in both the Animal Health industry as it is in the Veterinary profession.

Listed below are the results of our survey that deal directly with the retention challenges that are facing Animal Health and Veterinary employers.

Veterinary Employers

Concerns at Work: The top concerns for veterinarians are being understaffed, followed by overwork and management or leadership concerns, further emphasizing the need for effective talent retention strategies.

Flexible Working Hours: A mere 26% of veterinarians report having flexible working hours, potentially limiting the appeal of their positions. And if veterinarians don’t find their current position appealing, they’re more likely to look elsewhere for satisfactory employment.

Salary: Despite the majority (75%) earning $100,000 or more per year, 61% did not receive a cost-of-living pay increase in the last year.

Frequent Job Changes: Forty-one percent (41%) of veterinarians believe it is acceptable to change jobs after one to two years, and 34% find it acceptable after 3-5 years, indicating a higher likelihood of job turnover compared to other professions.

Turnover: Forty-one percent (41%) of Veterinary professionals have been at their current employer for less than two years, mirroring the percentage that believe it’s acceptable to change jobs after one to two years.

Open to Opportunities: A significant portion (42%) of veterinarians are open to exploring new career opportunities, which should be seen as both a challenge and an opportunity for employers.

Animal Health Employers

Concerns at Work: Overwork and poor communication are the top concerns for animal health professionals, followed by being underpaid and management or leadership issues.

Flexible Working Hours: A more encouraging 53% of animal health professionals report having flexible working hours, potentially making their positions more appealing.

Acceptable Job Changes: 39% of respondents believe it is acceptable to change jobs after 1-2 years, while 49% consider it acceptable after 3-5 years, indicating a willingness to stay but not indefinitely.

Salary: A significant 78% of animal health professionals surveyed make $100,000 or more per year, but 24% did not receive a cost-of-living pay increase in the last year, hinting at potential dissatisfaction.

Turnover: Thirty-five percent (35%) of Animal Health professionals have been at their current employer for less than two years.

Open to Opportunities: A noteworthy 73% of animal health professionals are open to exploring new career opportunities, signifying the need for strategic recruitment efforts.

What Can Animal Health and Veterinary Employers Do?

Considering the results of The VET Recruiter’s survey, this is a practical question to ask. Despite the enormity of the challenges involved with hiring and retention, there is plenty that Animal Health and Veterinary employers can do to meet these challenges, starting with what is listed below.

Effective Communication: Address the communication concerns within your workplace. Regularly solicit feedback from employees, conduct surveys, and implement strategies to improve communication channels.

Improved Work-Life Balance: As overwork is a significant concern, employers should prioritize work-life balance initiatives, including flexible hours and reasonable workload expectations.

Competitive Compensation: To retain talent, consider providing competitive compensation packages, including regular cost-of-living pay increases, especially for female professionals.

Career Growth Opportunities: Create clear paths for career growth within your organization to incentivize employees to stay longer. Highlight opportunities for professional development and advancement.

The good news is that hiring, and retention are “two sides of the same coin.” This means that what an organization does to attract, recruit, and successfully hire top candidates also works when that same organization is trying to retain its best employees. And speaking of recruiting, Animal Health and Veterinary employers must also invest in targeted recruitment efforts. This includes identifying the skills and qualities needed and actively seeking out candidates who possess those skills and qualities.

It also includes leveraging the value of recruitment firms like The VET Recruiter. With more than 25 years in the business, our deep industry knowledge and extensive network allow us to connect employers with candidates who possess the specialized skills and passion required for success. This specialization ensures that employers are presented with the most qualified candidates, saving time and resources in the hiring process.

In addition, The VET Recruiter understands the importance of cultural fit in veterinary practices and animal health companies. We go beyond the resume to assess candidates’ values, goals, and motivations, ensuring a strong alignment with the employer’s mission and values. This results in higher job satisfaction and longer retention rates, addressing one of the industry’s most pressing challenges.

Partnering with The VET Recruiter is a strategic move for animal health and veterinary employers looking to navigate the complex landscape of hiring and retention. Our focused approach, commitment to cultural fit, and personalized solutions can help Animal Health and Veterinary employers build strong, resilient teams to meet the demands of their respective industries.

We invite you to find out more about our Veterinary recruiting services for employers and also learn more about our recruiting process and how we can help you hire more veterinarians this year.

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.

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