Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
British veterinarians looking for a new challenge or a better work-life balance tend to leave clinical practice at the seven-year mark of their career, a survey shows.
The British Veterinary Association reported April 25 that the finding should spark discussion over the issue of staff recruitment and retention.
“This has to be a wakeup call to all employers to think about whether we can do things differently to support our colleagues,” said BVA Senior Vice President Gudrun Ravetz, BVSc.
The survey of 671 U.K. veterinarians found that 73 percent of practitioners who switched to non-clinical jobs formerly worked in mixed practice. Forty-nine percent had experience in companion animal practice, one-third in production animal practice and 1 in 8 in equine practice.
The top reason for leaving the clinical world was the need to find a new challenge. Forty-three percent said that was their motivation, and one-third said they were looking for a different type of work.
Among veterinarians seeking an improved work-life balance:
- 25 percent didn’t want to work overtime.
- 14 percent wanted more flexible working hours.
- 10 percent thought clinical work was incompatible with family or outside commitments.
In addition, 21 percent thought their clinical career had reached its limit and 1 in 5 wanted less job stress.
Women made the career move an average of 6½ years into their clinical career, while men decided to get out at eight years.
Where did many of them go? Thirty-two percent found work in academia, and 21 percent moved to commerce and industry.
“These figures show that there is a sizable percentage of practicing vets who are making the move into non-clinical roles and that there are a variety of reasons behind their decision,” Dr. Ravetz said. “There is a huge diversity of career paths open to vets, and it’s important both for those who are already in practice and for those considering a veterinary career to be aware of all the options available.”