“The picture is not as gloomy as predicted” says Jacqui Molyneux, the outgoing president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons at the college’s annual day in London today.

The outgoing president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) believes the increasing number of veterinary graduates over the past five years has had “little impact” on job prospects.

The survey was completed by more than 1,400 of the past five years' veterinary graduates, which was a 43 per cent response rate.Speaking at RCVS Day today (July 5, 2013) at the Royal College of Physicians in London, Jacqui Molyneux, discussing a survey carried out for the college by the Institute for Employment Studies, said an average of 94% of graduates seeking a role in clinical practice obtained work within six months of starting to look.

The actual figure, said the college, ranged from a high of 96% in 2008 to a low of 92% in 2010, and “did not change significantly” over the five years under consideration, despite UK graduate numbers increasing by around a quarter during the same period (from 650 in 2007, to 819 in 2012).

However, the survey – which was answered by 1,354 of the past five years’ graduates – did show it was taking them slightly longer to secure their posts, with a shift from 85% securing work under three months in 2008, to 71% in 2012.

There was also some suggestion men tend to find jobs “slightly quicker” than women.

Mrs Molyneux said: “After the announcement from the University of Surrey that it will be opening a new vet school, there was a great deal of discussion among the profession about how easily new graduates could find employment. I undertook to get some real facts and am pleased to find the picture is not as gloomy as predicted.”

Mrs Molyneux, pictured speaking at an RCVS Question Time session, said it was saddening that some graduates leave their first positions due to a lack of support from their employees and colleagues.However, she said she was concerned there has been an increase in the proportion of respondents who leave their first position after a short period of time, as more than 40% of those who had left their first position did so within three months.
Mrs Molyneux said: “Although the turnover in first jobs seems to be, in part, due to an increase in temporary posts, I am saddened to see that the most commonly-cited reason for graduates leaving their first job was lack of support from their employers or professional colleagues.
“This is an area that we, as a profession, must address. As I have told all the students I have admitted to the college, their first jobs will influence their whole careers, and getting adequate support is probably the single most important factor.”

She said it “heartening”, however, to see that “nearly all” of those deciding to move on have obtained further work.

A summary of the headline survey results is available on the RCVS website. The college said the full findings, which also cover the time taken to complete the Professional Development Phase and the type and location of work sought, will be available “in due course“.

Main image © istockphoto.com/oversnap
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