Increasing Pet Ownership = Continued Opportunity in the Marketplace

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

There has been plenty of good news lately for those professionals seeking to advance their career in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. And I’m pleased to announce that there is even more good news.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), pet ownership is on the rise.

Late last year, the AVMA published its annual Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, which is a source of data regarding pet ownership and the habits of pet-owning households in the United States. The Sourcebook revealed plenty of interesting data, including the following:

  • Nearly 57% of all U.S. households owned a pet at the end of 2016.
  • Roughly 38% of households in the U.S. owned one or more dogs. That’s the highest rate of dog ownership since the AVMA began measuring that statistic in 1982.
  • Approximately 25% of U.S. households owned a cat.

And if you’re curious as to whether your state of residence is in the top 10 as far as pet ownership in the United States is concerned, below are those top 10 states:

  1. Wyoming
  2. West Virginia
  3. Nebraska
  4. Vermont
  5. Idaho
  6. Indiana
  7. Arkansas
  8. Mississippi
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Colorado

So why is all of this good news? Well, increased rates of pet ownership obviously means more pets, which means an increased need for more veterinarians. The unemployment rate in the Veterinary industry is already extremely low. Increased pet ownership translates into more veterinarian openings at practices, and by extension, more employment options and opportunities for professionals working within the profession.

But wait, there’s even more good news. That’s because, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), Americans spent $18.11 billion on Veterinary care in 2018. (You read that correctly. That’s billion with a “b.”)

Not only that, but Americans also spent 6.1% more on Veterinary care in 2018 than in 2017. That represented the fastest growth rate of any category that the APPA tracks. And if you’re wondering about projected spending figures for this year, Americans are expected to spend nearly $19 billion in 2019. That’s almost a 5% increase over last year. (Not to mention that $19 billion in 2019 has a nice ring to it.)

The APPA also provided two other tidbits of information:

  1. The frequency of Veterinary visits has increased due to lower overall prices.
  2. Millennials are and continue to be the largest pet-owning demographic.

How frequently are people taking their pets to the vet? According to the Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, dog-owning Veterinary clients made an average of three visits to the veterinarian in 2016, while cat-owning Veterinary clients made an average of 2.4 visits.

So to sum all of this up and put it in a nutshell:

  • More people own pets than ever before.
  • More people who own pets own multiple pets.
  • Pet owners are making more visits to their veterinarian.
  • Pet owners are spending more on Veterinary care on a year-over-year basis.
  • Pet owners’ spending on Veterinary care is expected to continue increasing.

For just a moment, I want to hearken back to a statistic that I’ve been promoting during the past year or two. That statistic is this one:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Veterinary job openings are set to increase by almost 18% through 2026 and job openings for Veterinary technicians are set to increase by 20% during that same timeframe.

When the BLS released these statistics, they appeared to be rather aggressive figures. However, when you consider the other information released by the AVMA and the APPA, as aggressive as they were, they also appear to be accurate. This is a good time to be in the Animal Health industry and the Veterinary profession, and from all indications, the good times are going to become even better.

All of this is plenty of reason to be open to opportunity and consider exploring your options in terms of the employment marketplace. What does that mean, exactly? It means quite a few things:

  • Being open to at least talking about an opportunity if one is presented to you, by a recruiter or by someone else. If a recruiter is presenting an opportunity, it could be better than the job you have right now, possibly in multiple ways.
  • Being open to exploring an opportunity, especially if that opportunity is better than the job you have right. Remember, just because you explore an opportunity does NOT mean you have to actively pursue the opportunity. And even if you pursue the opportunity and receive an offer of employment, you are not bound to accept that offer. You are not making a firm commitment to any employer by simply considering an opportunity.
  • Increase and expand your networking efforts.You never know who knows what . . . or who knows who. Networking is one of the best ways to keep on top of the employment marketplace, especially if you also network with an Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter.
  • Consider conducting a passive job search, whereby you give your resume to a recruiter and inform them of the types of positions in which you would be interested. That way, the recruiter will contact you when they come across an opportunity that matches the criteria you gave to them. You can focus on your job, while also positioning yourself for career growth.

What should be abundantly clear is that there is continued opportunity in the employment marketplace for professionals working in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. (And you could say that this is especially the case for those in the Veterinary profession.) As a result, the prudent and strategic move is to position yourself to take advantage of this opportunity.

Because if you do, then you could be well on your way to growing your career in ways you’ve never even dreamed of before.

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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