There is perhaps no profession in the employment marketplace today that offers more opportunity than the Veterinary profession. That’s because not only is there an abundance of jobs and a shortage of qualified candidates to fill them, but multiple sources also predict that there will be even more opportunity in the future.
For example, in September of 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released data projecting that veterinarian jobs will grow by 19% between 2021 and 2031. That’s an increase of 2% from the agency’s projections in April of 2022, when it projected that veterinarian jobs will grow 17% between 2020 and 2030. In addition, according to a report released by Mars Veterinary Health in early 2022, there will be a shortage of 15,000 veterinarians by the end of the decade.
While you might be tempted to think that you have all the time in the world to take advantage of current market conditions and enjoy being comfortable in your present situation, you could actually be costing yourself in the long run. There are two things that you could be costing yourself. The first thing is career advancement opportunities, and the second thing is money.
Let me pose this question: Who do you think would make more money over the course of their career, someone who changes jobs every five years or someone who stays with the same organization for 20 years? More than likely, you chose the person who changes jobs every five years, and if so, you would be correct.
Even before the Great Resignation and the talent shortage, people who changed jobs typically saw their salary jump $5K to $10K because of the switch. But the people who stay at the same job for years? They typically only earn 3% cost-of-living raises. However, the gap between these two groups of people could be even wider than you think.
According to an article on the Forbes.com website, “staying employed at the same company for over two years on average is going to make you earn less over your lifetime by about 50% or more.” The article goes on to say that 50% is a conservative number at the lowest end of the spectrum. That’s because this number assumes that your career is only going to last 10 years. The longer you work, the greater the difference will become over your lifetime. I think you would agree that your career is likely going to last longer than 10 years.
The Forbes.com article was written more than five years ago. Consequently, it’s even more relevant in today’s job market. That’s because the article was written before the Great Resignation and before there was such a severe talent shortage in this country. As a result, you could be costing yourself even more money than the amount referenced in the article.
During the past few years, starting salaries in the Veterinary profession have increased quickly and dramatically. And this is a trend that does not figure to reverse itself anytime soon. There are two big reasons why you should take full advantage of opportunity in your Veterinary career:
- The number of job openings that currently exist in the job market
- The amount of increased compensation (salary, bonuses, benefits, and other perks) associated with some of these job openings.
This is why it’s critical to benchmark your worth as a Veterinary professional. This means knowing your value in the job market. What are other people with similar skills and experience earning? If you don’t know, then you could be selling yourself short . . . literally.
For example, I’ve heard stories about veterinarians who have worked for five years or more at their clinic finding out that the people their employer just hired are earning much more than they are. In some cases, these new hires are earning 25% or more in terms of base salary and some may have better benefits and other perks, as well. Imagine how you would react if someone who was just hired at your employer made that much more money than you? You would probably be surprised and maybe even a little angry. After all, you’d think that you would be rewarded for your loyalty to the organization, but viewed within this context, you’re being penalized.
Examples like these illustrate the importance of benchmarking your worth in the job market. Perhaps you’ve stayed at the same employer for years, doing good work and providing a lot of value. But have you investigated whether nor not the work you’re doing should be considered more valuable by your employer? And whether or not your employer should be paying you more for the work that you’re doing?
Those people who are working in the Veterinary profession have a golden opportunity to accelerate the growth of their career. In fact, those in the Veterinary profession might have a better chance of doing so than people who are working in other industries or professions. However, you must be willing to do three things:
- Hear about an opportunity, especially when one is presented to you.
- Consider an opportunity, when one is presented to you or when you find one on your own.
- Explore an opportunity when it makes sense to do so.
Resist the temptation to be comfortable and maintain the status quo. Instead, proactively explore the tremendous opportunities that exist in the Veterinary profession, opportunities that are not only professionally satisfying, but also could be financially lucrative.
(Stacy Pursell is a Certified Personnel Consultant and a Certified Employment Retention Specialist. She is a workplace/workforce expert with 25 years of executive search and recruiting experience in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. For more information about Stacy’s firm, The VET Recruiter, visit www.thevetrecruiter.com.)