AVMA report identifies factors that lead to unemployment and underemployment in veterinary profession

Considering a job outside the veterinary industry for your first job out of school? Think again.

That's what the 2015 AVMA Report on Veterinary Employment report, issued this month by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), indicates.

The findings also indicate, overall, that the employment market for veterinarians is healthy and robust, with a 3.19% unemployment rate and a negative rate of underemployment.

The report, which is the second installment in its six-part series, identifies the factors that contribute to unemployment and underemployment in the veterinary profession.

Some highlights:   

  • Exclusive practices in the companion animal field have the lowest rate of unemployment (3.2%) and clinical practices in the equine field have the highest (6.3%) when it comes to that first veterinary position.
  • Graduates from Purdue, Tuskagee, the University of Georgia, and Western University have zero unemployment. (Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine had the highest unemployment rate, at 9.7%.)
  • Graduates who reside in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Alaska have the highest rate of unemployment.
  • Homeowners and those who are board-certified are more likely to be employed.
  • Age, participation in an internship, and/or perceived inadequacy in clinical competencies contribute to unemployment.
  • Graduates whose first post-graduate employment was in a field outside of veterinary medicine were more likely to be unemployed.
  • Veterinarians want to work less rather than more. (Females wish to reduce their work weeks by 10 hours, and males are split 50/50 on working 10 hours less or more per week.)
  • Top earners work five hours more per week, are more likely to be male, and the majority of them (55%) are in the companion animal field.

The employment data was provided by nearly 2,000 veterinarians who responded to a survey in March 2014 and who had graduated from a U.S. veterinary college 1, 5, 10 and 25 years prior. Of those who responded, 51% were companion animal practitioners, and 74.8% were female.