1 in four veterinary professionals say they put in additional than 60 hours every week

One in four respondents to a survey of veterinary practice owners and employees in Ireland said they put more than 60 hours a week into their work.

According to a study conducted and published by accounting and advisory firm HLB Sheehan Quinn, those who work the longest are typically sole traders and practice owners, according to the report.

43% of respondents say they work more than 50 hours a week.

Despite many long working hours and the hope of a better work-life balance, veterinarians still seem to have a positive attitude – 71% of respondents say they are satisfied with their career choice.

Satisfaction with work is “still on the upward trend”. This year’s value increased by 13% compared to the previous year. Around every tenth veterinarian says they are dissatisfied with their career, according to the report.

Top aspirations

A better work-life balance is a top priority for veterinarians (69% of women and 64% of men).

Most of the interviewed practice owners believe that a higher salary and fewer hours are the top goals of their employees.

The report notes that the impact of the pandemic “may have affected employee salary aspirations, as those that list” salary increases “as a top aspiration fell from 79% last year to 52%,” said off from the table above.

Employees’ attitudes towards public holidays “also changed compared to the previous year, with those who stated“ more public holidays ”as their primary goal fell by more than 50%”.

Payment and terms

Overall, 68% of those surveyed earn more than € 50,000 per year. At the upper end of the scale, the highest earners (with earnings in excess of € 100,000) are mostly practice owners who are men, while the lowest earners are mostly employees who are women. Almost a third of this year’s respondents (32%) are women.

Most of the practices surveyed (63%) plan to hire additional veterinarians or nurses in the next 12 months. “However, long hours, unattractive rotas, and competition from other practices can be barriers to hiring and retaining employees.”

Location and working conditions play an important role in recruiting

Gordon Stewart of VetJobs.ie said in the report that in early 2020, from a recruitment perspective, it continued the trend seen throughout 2019 – “a general shortage of veterinarians and vets in the market”.

“The numbers from VetJobs.ie point to a sharp and sudden shock to the sector from mid-February. The number of job vacancies fell by about 40% through March and April,” said Stewart.

During this period there has been a significant increase in the number of applicants looking for employment on the site.

“The second half of 2020 returned to a more normal level of activity. However, there is still a definite shortage of talent in the market as there are more vacancies available than candidates to fill.

“Location and working conditions (especially rotas and flexibility) will always play an important role in the success of hiring a role.”

Other important results of the report

Some other key findings from the report are that nearly half of those surveyed said their sales increased in 2020, partly due to the influx of new pet owners and people working from home.

The number of registered practices has increased by 12% compared to the previous year. While the majority of practices are unregistered, 60% of respondents say they would consider incorporating their company.


Over a third of veterinary practice owners who want to sell within 3 years

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