November 15, 2017


 Report: Veterinary profession still sees maldistribution problems

Posted Nov. 1, 2017

Cover of AVMA Report on The Market for Veterinarians For the first year since 2008, the number of job opportunities appearing on the AVMA Veterinary Career Center was, in 2016, greater than the number of applicants. The 2017 AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinarians, released in mid-October, identifies some 10,420 jobs—86 percent of which required a veterinary degree—seeking 3,422 applicants with veterinary degrees in 2016.

In certain markets, however, the number of applicants exceeded the number of jobs by more than 10:1, while in other markets, employers "went begging for applicants and found none," according to the report. This disparity led to sharply rising veterinary incomes in some areas with no growth in incomes in other areas, according to the report. It is the third of four economic reports for 2017. The reports are available for free download by AVMA members or for purchase by others as a series.

The 2017 AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinarians covers veterinarians' employment, unemployment, and underemployment; income and the net present value of the veterinary degree; and data available related to possible causes of negative well-being: debt, job and career satisfaction and income, expenditure patterns, burnout scores, and health.

According to the report's introduction: "The market for veterinary labor continued to gain ground in 2016 and nationally is hitting on all cylinders. But there are still considerable maldistribution problems that are creating variations in unemployment, underemployment, incomes, wellness, and other labor market indicators such as the net present value of the DVM degree. These variations occur regionally, by state and within states, by gender and by practice type. And the continued increasing scarcity of veterinary labor should help to ameliorate this maldistribution."

The report also found that almost 108,000 veterinarians were actively engaged in the profession at the close of 2016, while about 17,000 veterinary students were in the pipeline to enter the field. The largest segment of the profession worked in private and corporate practices. Of those practices, the largest block of veterinarians were employed in companion animal practices, followed by food animal, equine, and mixed animal practices. In public practice, colleges and universities employed the most veterinarians, followed by industry, and state and local government.