A survey has revealed the salaries of vets working in industry, academia and research have declined while those working in clinical practice have increased.

The SPVS Survey is the largest of its kind, said the society.

The Salaries Survey – completed on a mostly annual basis by the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS), and completed this year by 776 vets – found vets employed in industry earned a median of £59,106 – a decrease on last year’s figure of £69,596. Salaries among academic and research vets, meanwhile, decreased by 15.1%.

Other findings in the survey included a gap in pay between gender. According to findings, male respondents earn a median salary of £48,650 (with a range of £40,605-£67,510), while women earn a median salary of £40,412 (with a range of £34,500-£47,750). However, it was also found male vets were found to have a median career span of 11.9 years, while women vets’ was five years. 70.7% of respondents to the survey were female, compared to 68.4% last year.

SPVS claim that, even though there is still quite the pay gap between the genders, which is also slightly higher than the gap reported for all professions in the UK, there was “a glimmer of good news” as it has closed up from the 15% difference last year to 10.8% this year.

Elsewhere, the majority of respondents worked in small animal practice, which showed a 0.4% increase in median salary to £41,148. Salaries in equine practice rose by a modest 0.5% to a median of £43,000 while mixed practice showed an increase of 5% to £41,176 and large animal practice increased by 7.2% to £44,142.

Across the regions, meanwhile, salaries varied considerably, with the median figure for all respondents ranging from £37,030 for Scotland and Northern Ireland to £54,025 in Greater London.

Also, it would appear, the profession continues to be debt-laden, with 76% of those who had a loan at graduation still carrying student loans of between a few thousand pounds to a handful of respondents who had debts of more than £100,000.

The SPVS Salaries Survey is the largest of its kind and drew responses from 1,878 vets, nurses, practice managers and receptionists this year. With vets alone, 14% more took part.

SPVS treasurer and author of the survey’s report Peter Brown said: “The SPVS Salaries Survey is intended as a benchmark to give some indication of what is being paid as the ‘going rate’ rather than to advise on what employees should be paid.

“Having said that, we would urge all veterinary practices to continue working to ensure equal rates of pay are given for positions of equal status. Although the gender gap has closed up, it is still too big.”

The survey is free of charge to SPVS members and costs £150 for non-members. If you’re not a member, join now by telephoning 01926 410454 or visit SPVS website.

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