Veterinarians are among the highest trained, most skilled professionals across Australia. Their work demands a high level of training, and a commitment to improving the health of animals. While the public is well aware of the vital work carried out by veterinarians every day, the profession currently faces an uphill battle to to be recognised and rewarded as highly educated professionals.
With the increasing role of large corporate entities and investors, the workplace in Australia’s $3 billion veterinarian industry looks much different than it did only 10 years ago. Big players and private equity investors, are changing the face of the sector; and where owner-operator small businesses once dominated, they are being replaced by chains with big market capitalisation.
This has led to a focus on lower costs and cross-selling of services and products which threatens the professionalism of veterinarians, blurring the line between vets and retail staff.
While revenue across the industry is rising, the veterinarians themselves are being left behind. Fees are rising, profits are increasing but wages stagnate and are declining as a share of industry revenue. Low average wages in the profession are a major problem, with veterinarians receiving one of the lowest average salaries among skilled, university qualified professionals.
This is a sneak preview from an opinion piece to appear in the next issue of The Veterinarian, written by Chris Walton, Chief Executive of Professional Veterinarians Australia. Be sure to look out for your copy of the magazine to read the full article. As ever, views reproduced may not represent the beliefs of the magazine, its staff and publishers.