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Just HOW Tight is the Marketplace for Talent Right Now?

by Stacy Pursell, The VET Recruiter®

If you’re an employer in the Animal Health Industry or Veterinary Profession, you are probably of the opinion that the marketplace is tight when it comes to talent right now. In fact, you probably think this is especially the case for top talent.

And if that’s your opinion, you are correct.

However, there are degrees of everything. So while you might know that the job market is tight, you could be wondering, “Exactly how tight is it?” Well, I have an answer from a source that has first-hand knowledge of such things. That source: other recruiters and search consultants just like me.

2 out of every 3 recruiters

The VET Recruiter is a member of Top Echelon Network, an elite network of highly specialized search firms from across the United States and Canada. Every week, Top Echelon conducts a poll of its members, posting a recruiting or hiring-related question. Recently, that question was as follows:

Is this the tightest market with the most turn-downs and counteroffers that you’ve ever seen as a recruiter?

As might be expected, recruiters were eager to chime in with their thoughts and opinions. A week after the poll ran, Top Echelon published the results in its newsletter. Below are the results:

  • Yes, absolutely! — 24.3%
  • I’m inclined to think so. — 43.5%
  • I can’t decide.— 13.9%
  • No, I’ve seen worse.— 18.3%

For almost a quarter of the recruiters participating in the poll, there’s no question in their minds that this is the tightest job market they’ve ever seen. Another 43.5% of them indicated that they’re inclined to think so. They may not be 100% sure, but they’re mostly sure.

When you combine the percentages associated with those two groups, you get 67.8% of recruiters who are of the opinion that this is the tightest job market in terms of talent that they’ve ever seen. That’s more than two out of every three recruiters.

And even tighter job market

There’s one important thing to keep in mind about these poll results. Recruiters from nearly all industries in the employment marketplace are members of Top Echelon Network. So as you can see, the majority of these recruiters believe this is the tightest market they’ve ever seen. However, speaking as a recruiter and executive search consultant, I’m inclined to believe that the market is even tighter in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession.

Below is evidence of this, some of which I’ve mentioned before in previous articles, podcasts, webinars, and other presentations:

  • Last year, CNBC published an article, and the title of the article was “For Aspiring Vets, Jobs are Aplenty—Demand Set to Rise 18 Percent in 10 Years.” The article referenced a very interesting statistic: “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for veterinarians are set to climb by some 18 percent through 2026, while roles for veterinary technicians will rise by 20 percent in the same time frame.”
  • According to a DVM360 Magazine article published last year and titled “The Year Ahead: Things Are Looking Bright for the Veterinary Profession,” the unemployment rate in the Veterinary profession fell from 5% to 0.5% during 2017.
  • I attended Western Veterinary Conference earlier this year in Las Vegas. I attended an analytics session at that conference, and during the session, I was told that there is currently one veterinarian for every five job openings.

As you can see, while recruiters from every industry believe the market is tight, the market is even tighter for those employers in the Animal Health Industry and especially the Veterinary Profession. So what does that mean for employers, specifically?

Turn-downs and counteroffers

The answer to that question is in the Top Echelon Network poll question itself: Is this the tightest market with the most turn-downs and counteroffers that you’ve ever seen as a recruiter?

As you can see, it means two things for employers:


This, of course, is when an organization makes an offer of employment to a candidate, and the candidate turns the offer down. They may turn down the offer the first time in an effort to negotiate the terms of the offer, or they may turn down the offer the first time for good. (They could also turn down the  job offer multiple times if negotiations are not productive.)


Taken in this context, this involves a couple of different scenarios. It could involve simply the existence of a counter-offer, regardless of whether or not the candidate accepts it. Then, to take things one step further, it means both the existence and the acceptance of a counter-offer. Both scenarios speak to how tight the current market is in terms of hiring. In other words, there are more counter-offers being made AND more of them being accepted.

There is a third thing this could mean for employers that was not mentioned in the poll question. That’s no-shows, when a candidate accepts an offer and agrees to show up for work, but then does not show up for their first day. The reason they did not show up: they accepted an offer from another employer or they accepted a counter-offer from their current employer. It’s like a “double-whammy” of sorts in terms of both lost time and money for your organization.

The overriding point with all of this is that the hiring environment in the current employment marketplace has rarely been as challenging as it is right now.

This underscores the value of an experienced search consultant, especially one that specializes in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession. In a tight labor market like the one we’re currently experiencing, finding top talent is not nearly enough. You must recruit the talent. You must “sell” them on the opportunity and your organization all throughout the hiring process.

If you don’t do these things, then you’re at risk for losing top talent through turn-downs, counter-offers, and no-shows. And that may be truer in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession than other employment fields right now.

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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