Clarification regarding the New Graduate Starting Salary Calculator

The AVMA sincerely apologizes for any misunderstandings regarding the gender wage gap resulting from the recent online release of its New Graduate Starting Salary Calculator. Although this calculator was debuted during the March 2016 Student AVMA Symposium to rave reviews, in retrospect we realize that the difference between its in-person debut and broader release via internet was context—and we failed to sufficiently provide that earlier.

The inclusion of gender as a factor affecting starting salary is NOT an indication that it is acceptable for female veterinarians to be compensated less for the same work. In fact, the AVMA firmly believes in—and will continue to advocate for—equal pay for equal work. The reality is that gender was identified by analyzing data collected from senior veterinary students over the past 15 years as one factor that is statistically significant in predicting the starting salaries of new graduates. All such statistically significant factors are included in the calculator.

You should be upset over the gender disparity in starting salaries, just as we at the AVMA are upset by it. Unfortunately, it’s a reality, and one we have reported on in the past, just never in calculator format. As a profession, we must find a way to better understand and address the gender wage gap. The AVMA actively encourages students who use this calculator to run a few scenarios and then utilize all the information gained to strategically advocate for themselves during salary negotiations. This is especially true for women. We hope that employers will use information gleaned from reviewing and discussing the New Graduate Starting Salary Calculator to reflect on any unconscious biases impacting salary negotiations and hiring practices. As for the AVMA, we will continue to investigate why the gender wage gap exists so that actions may be taken to help all of us, as a profession, close it.

The calculator has been revised to provide clarification of the gender adjustment. Finally, to correct our earlier error in not providing sufficient context, please check out this Frequently Asked Questions document to learn more about the New Graduate Starting Salary Calculator. We hope you find it helpful.

8 thoughts on “Clarification regarding the New Graduate Starting Salary Calculator

  1. Several years ago (and probably more) Vet economics published an article on the discrepancy in pay between female and male veterinarians. It showed that female associates were paid 22% less than their male counterparts. These salaries were determined by someone other than the associate. The article also pointed out that the same difference in pay existed between female and male owners. Obviously the owners themselves decided what their salary would be.
    From my own research of vet clinics that I associate with and from comments that I have read, this situation has not changed. The question is WHY? Women dominate the vet schools and the work place. They deserve equal pay and they should get it.

  2. This calculator looks like a joke to me. It might be fine for the new graduate looking for a job if it doesn’t set him/her up for failure. I have owned six practices and been a practice management consultant over a 40+ year career and I must say that no practice owner in his/her right mind would use this formula for calculating a salary for a new associate. It is unacceptable that the calculator supports the myth that a female associate is worth less than a male associate and to actually put a number on it is ridiculous. Adding to the value of a new associate because he/she has debt is insane. It seems to me, having read previous posts on the subject, that this calculator is mostly a ploy to get employers to help pay the student loan debt that has become a problem for many new graduates. That is not my debt and it is not my responsibility to retire it. Maybe I’m old school but I prefer to consider factors like where a new grad went to school and the likelihood that he/she will be able to perform as a veterinarian that will add something to the practice. I don’t see any factor in the formula for team fit and attitude either; two factors that can make a huge difference in the success or failure of an associate.

  3. Has anyone looked at actual production between men and women? Im not seeing in the formula where you actually earn your pay. All things considered equal, that should be the only relevant variable as far as owners are concerned.

  4. Why Balkanize the profession? The “unconscious bias” theory is nonsense. Do female practice owners have unconscious bias also? Males are a minority in the profession now and 3/4 of the new graduates are women.
    I have a female family member who hasn’t complained about unconscious bias. Perhaps it’s because she wasn’t raised with the victim mentality. The gender bias is probably because
    males and females tend to take different jobs with different flexibility of hours etc.
    We are veterinarians……not male and female veterinarians. Let’s lose this nonsense and stop publishing gender differences in salaries.

    • I am looking at this scenario/calculator. Let me get this straight, if you are working less hours and have more debt you should get paid more??? I would hire the student willing to work more hours and that did not have debt. Unless you are just looking at this as a calculator for the recent graduate and not practice owners looking to hire these new graduates does this make any sense. In that case, why not make a calculator for practice owners looking to hire a new graduate and see how mush disparity there is between these two calculations. I am afraid you are setting students up for failure if they demand a position pay what they are calculating what they “need”.

  5. From the FAQ (

    Q: What about other factors not included, such as race/ethnicity and veterinary school attended?
    A: Neither race/ethnicity nor veterinary school attended is a significant factor in predicting the starting salary of a new graduate. Only those factors that have been determined over time to be statistically significant in predicting starting salaries are included in the calculator.

  6. So let me get this straight – you are simply informing us of the reality of inequality of pay for women. Did you look into race as a factor? Sexual orientation? These are characteristics of a person that are constants, just like gender. Would a more accurate calculator have a negative adjustment for those who are African-american? Hispanic? Asian? Homosexual? In a profession that is increasingly dominated by women it boggles my mind that someone felt it was ok to publish this blatantly sexist disgusting “calculator” under the guise of providing information. Congratulations on making an uphill climb even steeper.

    Kristen Kline, DVM