Why Higher Wages and Bigger Bonuses are Inevitable in This Market

By Stacy Pursell, CPC/CERS
The VET Recruiter®

I have broached the subject of making competitive and compelling offers of employment to Animal Health and Veterinary candidates in the past. In fact, I even addressed the topic relatively recently with the article, “If Your Job Offers Are Being Rejected, Then You’re Not Making the Best Offers.”

However, I feel the need to tackle this topic once again, especially considering the conditions that exist in the current employment marketplace. More than likely, you are aware of the labor shortage that is present in the larger job market. Employers in almost every industry are looking for workers and candidates to fill their open positions.

This, of course, has been the case in the Veterinary profession for the past several years. In fact, it’s been happening for at least the past five years. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, demand for qualified candidates and top talent in the profession was at an all-time high. Ultimately, the only thing that the pandemic did was “pour gasoline on the fire” of marketplace conditions. Demand for Veterinary care and pet-related services surged even more due to the pandemic, and as a result, Veterinary practices and organizations found themselves in even greater need of top professionals.

The result is what I would consider to be the tightest talent market in the Veterinary profession that I’ve seen since becoming an Animal Health and Veterinary recruiter more than 20 years ago. And a market like this one produces certain consequences.

The (Veterinary) Law of Supply and Demand

One of those consequences is that qualified candidates are more difficult to find, engage, recruit, and hire. In other words, it takes more in order to successful woo top talent to leave their employer and possibly uproot their family and move across the country to work for your organization (or to even get them to move down the street). It required quite a lot to do this before the COVID-19 pandemic started, and now it requires even more.

Specifically, it requires more in the way of higher starting salaries and bigger bonuses, including sign-on bonuses.

There is a “push-pull” component of the employment marketplace that is contributing to this dynamic. If the labor market is tight and qualified candidates are in short demand, then those organizations that do employ the top Veterinary professionals are going to do everything they can to ensure that they keep those professionals. There is a cause-and-effect factor at work here. The tighter the labor market becomes, the more that these organizations are going to do to keep their top performers.

This means that right now, Veterinary employers are doing absolutely everything they can to keep their best employees . . . and prevent them from seriously considering other employment and career opportunities.

This is as simple as the Law of Supply and Demand. Here’s a definition of the law from Investopedia.com:

The law of supply and demand is a theory that explains the interaction between the supply of a resource and the demand for that resource. The theory defines the effect that the availability of a particular product and the desire (or demand) for that product has on its price. Generally, low supply and high demand increase price.

It’s the last sentence of that definition that is the most important: “Generally, low supply and high demand increase price.” This is exactly the situation in which we find ourselves in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession, especially the latter.

The importance of competitive, compelling offers

Unfortunately, I have been witness to situations in which an employer has made a low-ball offer to a top candidates. In some instances, the hiring manager did not fully grasp the reality of marketplace conditions and was under the assumption that their offer was a competitive one. (Despite my suggestions and counsel to the contrary.)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Veterinary profession is poised to grow for at least the next eight years, and it could be longer than that the next time it releases its projections. This means that the current tight conditions for hiring are not going away anytime soon. In fact, based on the current atmosphere and what the BLS is predicting for most of the next decade, conditions could become even tighter, if you can believe it.

If you want the best from a candidate that you’re interviewing in the hiring process, then you must offer your best, and that includes your organization’s offer of employment. The last thing you want to do is low-ball the offer. There are a couple of important reasons for this.

First, not only will this not entice the candidate to join your organization, but it will actively dissuade them from considering your offer and your employment opportunity. Second, you’re actually branding your organization with the offers that you make to candidates during the hiring process. If you make a low-ball offer to a candidate, especially a top candidate, then you’re branding yourself as a low-ball employer. You run the risk that the candidate will both reject your offer and also carry this negative branding experience with them forward in their career, and you never know who this candidate will speak with in the future.

The bottom line is that higher wages (including starting salaries) and bigger bonuses are inevitable in this current market. If you’re a Veterinary practice or Animal Health organization that needs to hire and wants to hire the best candidates in the marketplace, then you must offer these higher starting salaries and bigger bonuses. Failure to do so puts your organization at a decided disadvantage when competing against other employer for top talent.

Working with an experienced executive recruiter or search consultant can help you to “keep your finger on the pulse” of the employment marketplace, especially as it pertains to the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. With that insight and market intelligence, you’ll be able to make competitive and compelling offers of employer to the top candidates in the market.

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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.