2016 Report on the Market for Veterinarians now available

Published on October 26, 2016
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The AVMA today released the 2016 Report on the Market for Veterinarians, making it available for free download by all AVMA members as part of the AVMA’s 2016 Economic Reports series.2016 AVMA Report on The Market for Veterinarians

The 2016 Report on the Market for Veterinarians makes use of data from a variety of sources.  Subjects addressed in the report include veterinary employment, unemployment and underemployment; income and the net present value of the veterinary degree; and veterinary well-being as it relates to debt load, job and career satisfaction, income, expenditure patterns, burnout scores and a veterinarian’s physical health.

The market for veterinarians may be thought of as the market for veterinarians’ labor.  The largest markets for veterinarians are those of private practice (e.g., companion animal, food animal, equine and mixed animal), comprising roughly three-quarters of all active veterinarians. Other markets, such as education, research, industry, government, nonprofits, banking and consulting, employ the remaining quarter of active veterinarians.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The national market for veterinarians remains robust for the second straight year. The single largest source of this improvement has been the growth in the U.S. economy.
  • The market for veterinarians has witnessed the second straight year of low unemployment, negative underemployment and increasing mean salaries.
  • The applicant-to-jobs ratio decreased to one or less in 2015.
  • In 2015, veterinary unemployment remained below the national average and was not significantly different from 2014.
  • Veterinary underemployment was again negative in 2015, with more veterinarians indicating they wish to work fewer hours for less compensation than those who wish to work additional hours for more compensation.
  • Net present value (NPV) of the veterinary degree has been declining since the earliest data was available in 2010. The primary reason for this decline is the increasing opportunity costs: starting salaries for bachelor’s degree holders grew 19 percent over this period, whereas starting salaries for veterinary degree holders grew about 5.5 percent.
  • In an effort to address the growing concern over the wellness of veterinarians, the AVMA has been collecting data through its Employment Survey on self-reported wellness of veterinarians. The point of this collection is to attempt to find correlations of well-being with employment and demographic characteristics. To quantify concerns about wellness in the veterinary profession, it is important to know the characteristics of those who are at the highest risk of wellness issues.

Finally, the report illustrates a new research thrust of AVMA’s Veterinary Economics Division to begin to look more closely at the potential differences in local compared to national market conditions.  This report provides results of an analysis of veterinarians in the state of Indiana, and next year we will provide the results for Arizona, Colorado, Texas, bovine practices, equine practices and a segment of specialists, the lab animal practitioners. Workforce characteristics in Indiana and the U.S. are compared in this year’s report, and the value of the veterinary services sector to the Indiana economy is computed.

The AVMA’s economic reports provide the most current and vitally important veterinary economics information to veterinarians and others with a stake in the veterinary profession’s success. Prepared by the economists in the AVMA’s Veterinary Economics Division, the reports include the research performed by division staff as well as research from more than a dozen outside sources. The reports explore the many facets of veterinary economics and can help veterinarians better understand the markets they operate in and the factors that affect their livelihood. They are must-reads for anyone invested in the profession.

We encourage all AVMA members to download and read their free copy of this report, as well as the first two reports in the 2016 series: the 2016 AVMA Report on Veterinary Markets and the 2016 AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinary Education. The full series of 2016 reports is available for purchase by nonmembers.

Our final report in the 2016 series will address the market for veterinary services. As with the first three reports, the final report will be made available to all AVMA members free of charge.