AVMA issues 2015 veterinary employment report

Econ Employment CoverToday we released our 2015 AVMA Report on Veterinary Employment, which explores the rate of unemployment and underemployment in the veterinary profession, and the factors contributing to both.

The second installment of the AVMA’s six-part 2015 Veterinary Economic Report series, the report includes employment information from nearly 2,000 veterinarians who responded to a survey in March 2014 and who had graduated from a U.S. veterinary college 1, 5, 10 and 25 years prior.

The findings indicate that the employment market for veterinarians is healthy and robust. Veterinary medicine enjoys a low level of unemployment of 3.19 percent and a negative rate of underemployment.

How much unemployment and underemployment exists, as well as the factors that contribute to the existence of either, is critical information needed to develop strategies that can most effectively and efficiently improve the lifelong value of a veterinary degree. Information such as this is critical to all of us if we are going to have informed, authoritative discussions about the current state of veterinary employment.

The report series is designed to help veterinarians better understand the markets they operate in and the factors that affect their livelihood. The 2015 AVMA Report on Veterinary Employment can be purchased online from the AVMA Store as part of the six-installment series, and free summaries of the first two published reports also are available. The price for the series is $249 for AVMA members and $499 for nonmembers. The four other reports will be available upon publication. The reports and their scheduled publication dates are:

  • The AVMA Report on Veterinary Markets (January)
  • The AVMA Report on Veterinary Employment (March)
  • The AVMA Report on Veterinary Debt and Income (April)
  • The AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinarians (May)
  • The AVMA Report on Veterinary Capacity (July)
  • The AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinary Education (September)

Here’s a brief summary of what each report explores:

  • The AVMA Report on Veterinary Markets: Provides data and information about general U.S. economic conditions, the markets for veterinary education, veterinarians and veterinary services, and workforce capacity utilization.
  • The AVMA Report on Veterinary Employment: We surveyed veterinarians across the country and across the profession to better understand employment, unemployment and underemployment, as well as the factors affecting each.
  • The AVMA Report on Veterinary Debt and Income: This report takes an in-depth look at salaries for new and existing veterinarians and their veterinary education debt load, as well as debt-to-income ratios and the net present value of a veterinary career.
  • The AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinarians: Ever wonder where the 100,000-plus veterinarians are located, what type of work they do or how much they are compensated? This report explores the demographics of the profession.
  • The AVMA Report on Veterinary Capacity: This report includes our excess capacity forecast and explores our capacity utilization survey, descriptive statistics for capacity utilization and the factors affecting capacity utilization.
  • The AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinary Education: The market for veterinary education is the beginning of the pipeline to the market for veterinary services. This report looks at the types of students applying to veterinary school, and the supply of and demand for veterinary education.

While the individual reports are part of the paid subscription package, there are opportunities to access highlights and segmented pieces of this information for free through the following resources:

9 thoughts on “AVMA issues 2015 veterinary employment report

  1. I read the summary and it is interesting that there was a negative correlation between internships and employment. I would speculate that this is because most graduates would rather get a job than an internship and a lot of the ones that end up doing internships have a lack of job offers. I have had several new grads tell me that they had applied for internships but were only planning on doing an internship if they did not get a decent job offer. There are likely adequate practices hiring but (especially in rural communities) new graduates seem to have trouble with work life balance. It seems we teach that life will be easy following vet school, then the new grad hits the real world and finds they have to work 50 of 60 hours to justify the wage they require to pay their student loans and live. Add this to 20 plus hours or research and CE on cases to learn and keep up, and then toss in some emergency duty in a rural area. Finding a grad that is willing to put in these kind of hours until they develop the skills to cut their number of hours has not been easy. I don’t have an answer as school costs are high (always have been but perhaps they are worse now), and the amount of information that changes in a short amount of time is large, and most of the millennium generation does not expect to work this much. No answers here just more questions as I am one of the veterinarians who would like to reduce hours but have trouble hiring due to emergency hours and mixed practice not due to salaries and benefits as this is the only thing I don’t get complaints on.

  2. There is obvious bias with most of these types of reports the AVMA puts out.

    I do not need to restate what Greg has already said. Thank you Greg.

    Still, I always felt that these types of reports were one of the things we pay our AVMA dues for. Or, perhaps they should apply for grant money. I guess that’s not true and right now I am happy to be paying a lot of money for my JAVMA, and extra to get AJVR. They are also our representatives to express our or their interests.

    I will not be paying $250 for these reports. I do not need to be paying for, 4 star hotels and first class plane tickets. So, I can not read the materials and methods to determine if I should read the rest or place it in the rubbish. From the poor sample size and other concerns, I feel my money would be wasted filling up the bin. For anyone exposed to research these types of studies can easily be littered with unintentional as well as intentional bias.

  3. Greg, don’t mean to be curt or trite here, but the reason we wrote the report is so that we would not have to respond individually to interested veterinarians. This is a rather large report with plenty of data and analysis to support our statements. I would be happy to discuss the findings after you read the report.

    • Nice. Buy the report in order to understand how you come up with a “robust” market for veterinarians.

      You do come across as curt, Mike and I am not so sure it is by accident. I will save my money, but thank you none the less.

      I would ask that, as an economist, you simply report on the data and not try to color the data with descriptive terms like robust unless you are prepared to explain your word choice.

    • Dr. Dicks,

      I did take the time to peruse the executive summary and thank you for providing access to it. As it turns out, that is really all the information that I needed. A simple “hey, why don’t you take a look at the executive summary and get back to me with your questions” would have more than sufficed and probably would have taking you less time to type. It would have certainly flavored the context a bit better, don’t you think?

      If I read correctly, your conclusion of a ROBUST job market was reached with:

      • A study population size less than 2 % of the approximately 100,000 veterinarians that are currently employed as veterinarians in the U.S.
      • No comparative data on past veterinary unemployment/underemployment rates from which to compare to.
      • Having told us that we already have excess capacity in our profession
      • Having told us that part of excess capacity is made up of unemployment and underemployment
      • Knowing that fully 30-40% of new graduates enter into poverty wages by interning because they fear not finding a job at all.
      • Comparing the unemployment rates of veterinarians, with their hundreds of thousands of dollars in education debt and 8 years of schooling with the unemployment rate of the average joe citizen.

      From what I can tell in my area and the areas of my colleagues that I talk with, starting salaries are stagnant. Applicants are plentiful. In my own personal experience, I sought an associate in 2008 and received one applicant. I placed an ad at three universities and had close to 30 in less than a month. I know that is anecdotal, but that is the reality for many of us.

      Anyways, without knowing what our historical unemployment has been, I believe it is a little premature to be waving the Robust banner. A more accurate statement would have been “ the US veterinary employment picture is better than that of the average US citizen.

      As it stands, it is only too easy to know who you work for.

    • Mike,

      Can you please come back and let us know what your frame of reference is to say the job market is robust. Without historical data, you cannot be comparing it to previous years in the veterinary market. So, as best I can tell, you are stating this in comparison to the overall job market. Is this correct? Do you feel that this is a completely unbiased statement on your part?

      • I can tell you in the Central Valley of Ca the market is definitely robust. I started doing relief 10 months ago (after selling my practice for a really good price). I turn away more work than I can do and every practice I work for is hiring. Speaking to young vets who are being mistreated I tell them to get a new job. It’s not even hard.

  4. “The findings indicate that the employment market for veterinarians is healthy and robust.”

    Based upon what, exactly?

    “Veterinary medicine enjoys a low level of unemployment of 3.19 percent ”
    How does this compare, historically?

    What I see in the trenches is stagnating salaries. That would make me suspicious of a robust market>

    could someone expand upon this a bit?

    Thank you