The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) recently commissioned a study to counter the arguments against new vet schools opening to show that the employment situation in the profession is still good.
I have no argument with what it found: that most, if not all vets looking for jobs are employed very quickly.
At the moment.
My concern, expressed in these pages a while ago, is that over the next 10 to 20 years (with one more university confirmed and two more rumoured) things will get worse – not just in finding jobs, but in the conditions those jobs come with (remuneration, support, job security). Remember, it is an oft-quoted statistic that pet ownership in this country is slowly contracting.
The value in the RCVS survey is more being able to compare future results with this year’s results, but the only help it will be is to say: “I told you so.”
I do hope I am wrong.
The RCVS also found that turnover within the first three months of a graduate’s first job is increasing.
As a profession our treatment of colleagues is variable, to say the least. Many practices are very good, understanding, supportive environments, but my own experiences were pretty bad; as a naïve young vet I believed that all employers were decent people. With hard experience of being let down (my own feeling is that I was conned, lied-to, and not supported at all by two of my first practices) I became a lot more discerning and a little more cynical.
I must say I find the subject of nursing wages depressing as well. Our nurses do a hard, dangerous, back-breaking job, vital to us being able to do our jobs too – and when you consider what they do, their remuneration, and conditions, as well as the poor prospects for development and advancing, it’s no surprise that there are very few veterinary nurses who stick to the job for a lifetime career.
I don’t have the answers, but you don’t need surveys to tell you there’s a problem there.