Veterinary Workforce Survey


The Veterinary Workforce Survey is undertaken every 2 years in collaboration with the veterinary boards. Here are some of the report’s findings:

  • Of the respondents to the survey, 89% were working in a veterinary role and, of these, 73% were in a role in clinical practice. There appears to be a trend away from working in solo practices, with the most clinical veterinarians presently employed in group private practices.
  • With the increased feminisation of the profession, most veterinary activities are undertaken by more women than men. The work categories where males still outnumber females were beef cattle and dairy cattle practice, export certification, meat inspection, pig and poultry practice.
  • 6% of the respondents were specialists.
  • 13% of respondents said that they were considering not working as a veterinarian in 2016. When asked why, the most common reasons given were they intended to retire, study or work in a non-veterinary role.
  • The median work hours worked per week for clinicians was 40 hours (excluding being on call) which was the same for non-clinicians. For women (across all work roles) the median hours worked per week was 38 and for men it was 40.
  • 43% of all clinicians reported being required to be on call outside normal working hours, 37% of female clinicians compared with 53% of male clinicians reported being on call. For those who were on call, there was a median of three hours a week where they were required to attend cases.
  • Of the respondents 23% were working in part-time roles, with 26% of females and 17% of males working part-time. 

This survey’s data alongside data provided or accessed from universities, veterinary boards, ABS, and other sources will be used to revisit the AVA's workforce modelling. We will also need to research and test some of the assumptions made in the previous modelling where no or limited data was (or is) available especially around those leaving the veterinary workforce, working part-time, the demand for veterinarians and the demand for veterinary services.

We are currently hearing about veterinary practices that are having problems with finding graduates - especially with a few years’ experience - to fill positions. With an increased number of graduates coming out of universities, more research is needed to understand why this is the case. Workforce modelling is only as good as the data that you put into any model and it still remains an issue for us.

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