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Veterinary Demographics: Women Veterinarians Dominate the Field

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

I have witnessed many changes in the Veterinary profession since I started working as a Veterinary recruiter back around 1997. One of those changes is a major shift in Veterinary demographics, and that shift continues as we transition into the year 2020.

This shift and trend can be illustrated with one simple statement: women are dominating the Veterinary field.

Of course, I’ve noticed this shift during my work as a Veterinary recruiter for the past 20 years. However, you don’t have to take my word for it. That’s because there are statistics that validate what has been happening in the marketplace and within the profession.

The United States Census Bureau collects data every single year regarding employment composition by gender in over 200 occupations. Last year, 24/7 Wall Street, a financial news and commentary website, compared U.S. Census data accumulated from 2000 to 2016 and then compiled a list of the 20 jobs that have become the most dominated by women.

The rise of the woman Veterinarian

As you might have already guessed, 24/7 Wall Street discovered that “no job has become dominated by women faster than Veterinarians” during the past 16 years. Below are the specific numbers associated with this trend in the Veterinary profession (including the median salary):

  • 16-year change in share of women: 25.1%
  • 2016 female workers: 38,885 (59.1% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 15,140 (34.0% of total)
  • Median earnings: $90,063

While that, in and of itself, is fascinating, there’s even more interesting information to be culled from the Census data. That’s because other animal-related occupations made 24/7 Wall Street’s list. Landing at #12 on the list was non-farm animal caretakers. Below are the specific numbers associated with the rise of women within this profession:

  • 16-year change in share of women: 7%
  • 2016 female workers: 86,341 (4% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 32,130 (7% of total)
  • Median earnings: $25,210

But wait, because once again, there’s more. At #6 on the list was animal trainers. In the year 2000, the majority of animal trainers were men, but that is no longer the case. In fact, there are now more female trainers than there are male ones. Below are the specific numbers associated with the rise of women within this profession:

  • 16-year change in share of women: 2%
  • 2016 female workers: 15,037 (51.8% of total)
  • 2000 female workers: 9,180 (6% of total)
  • Median earnings: $29,978

The news for those working in these other animal-related professions isn’t all good. For example, as you can see, the median earnings for Veterinarians are much more than those for non-farm animal caretakers and for animal trainers. In fact, they’re fully three times as much as these other occupations and they’re among the highest median earnings in the country.

Other than that, though, what does this mean in terms of Veterinarian demographics?

Veterinarian demographics and the future

I can tell you from personal experience that being successful in any profession as a woman, especially in those professions traditionally dominated by men, is NOT easy. The search and recruiting industry is not a woman-dominated field. Although there are certainly plenty of talented and successful women who are recruiters and who run their own firms, men represent the majority of the profession. This was especially the case when I first started as a recruiter more than 20 years ago.

And as you might expect, I encountered my fair share of challenges, obstacles, and setbacks when I first started, including the following:

  • I was told that I would fail.
  • I had a male co-worker attempt to steal an account from me and take credit for my work. (but I didn’t let him)
  • I had a boss who would only allow women to wear skirts and panty hose and no pants.
  • I was told by my boss that one of our clients would rather work with a male. (which turned out not to be true)

While conditions and circumstances within the employment marketplace overall could be considered better for women then they were 20 years ago, there are still plenty of challenges for those who aspire to reach their potential, grow their career, and achieve great things in their professional life. As far as Veterinarian demographics and the future are concerned, this trend of women dominating the profession might continue or it might level off. Regardless, women comprise nearly 60% of all workers operating within the field. At this point, I find it highly unlikely that the trend is going to reverse itself, and even if it does, the numbers will not return to 2000 levels.

If you’re a woman working within the Veterinary profession and you want to maximize your potential and grow your career, then rest assured that I know the challenges and obstacles you’re facing. In addition, I know what you need to do to reach your goals, and I’m also excited about helping you do so. Believe me, there are plenty of opportunities in the marketplace. You just have to be open to considering those opportunities and exploring the right ones.

If you’re a man working within the Veterinary profession, I’m well aware of the fact that men still comprise over 40% of Veterinary workers. Although you’re no longer the majority, you still have goals for your career and you also want to maximize your professional potential. One of our goals at The VET Recruiter is to help Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that allow them to achieve the quality of life they seek. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or if you’re a woman, our goal remains the same: to help YOU attain career-enhancing opportunities.

Regardless of Veterinarian demographics, we at The VET Recruiter have a passion for solving problems and making a difference in the lives of people, and that includes job seekers and candidates. This is how we create a win-win situation for everyone involved.

If you’re looking to make a change this year or explore your employment options, then we want to talk with you. I encourage you to contact us or you can also create a profile and/or submit your resume for consideration.

Let’s make 2020 the best year of your career!

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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