Editor’s Note (Jan. 28, 2014): The AVMA employment survey has yet to be distributed. We anticipate that it will be sent in early February. We apologize for any confusion we may have caused.
It was a frank and open discussion when nearly 50 people representing all facets of the veterinary profession gathered in September to discuss the issues and opportunities related to veterinary economics. Many perspectives and ideas were shared about the state of affairs and what directions should be taken to address veterinary supply and demand, and what’s happening with the veterinary workforce. In the end, everyone attending the 2013 AVMA Veterinary Workforce Summit agreed that we need to collect and share valid data that gives us a clearer picture of the veterinary profession, including the need to better track the supply and demand of veterinarians and their services.
Now, as 2014 has begun, the AVMA is busy gathering data relevant to the supply and demand of veterinary services, and how price and income affects clients’ use of those services. We recently sent an employment survey to veterinarians across the country that will help us determine employment rates in the profession. The survey focuses on unemployment and underemployment levels within the veterinary profession, trying to determine which factors may lead to both. A second survey, scheduled for distribution this spring, will help us determine capacity utilization in veterinary practices and to understand why some practices are running at full capacity while others are not. In addition, we will be surveying both practice owners and consumers in 12 metropolitan markets across the country to determine how the demand for veterinary services responds to changing prices and incomes, and how that response is affected by various demographic factors.
We’ve collected data in the past, but nothing this detailed in terms of employment levels, practice capacity and consumer behavior. The data we collect is critical to helping us better determine what factors are playing a role in the veterinary economy and what can be done collectively to address them.
If you receive one of the surveys specific to veterinarians, we urge you to take the time to respond with thoughtfulness and accuracy. As practicing veterinarians, you have the data we need. By providing the information we seek through the surveys, you can help us as we work to promote the efficiency and the profitability of the veterinary profession.