Update on the Vet Shortage – March 2020

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A quick search online reveals that the veterinary shortage is still in the news. After a flurry of media interest in this issue in Australia at the start of 2019 following the release of several industry studies in Australia and the UK, towards the end of 2019 media outlets in the USA and Canada went on to report similar issues in those countries.

At Kookaburra Veterinary Employment we’ve crunched some more numbers to update the trends that we’re seeing in Australia.

table showing 2014 to 2019 employment stats

Of the current 398 open vacancies, 67 have been continuously advertised for more than 8 months. (2% of the total number of jobs advertised since 1st January 2018 are still currently advertised and unfilled)

In the last 3 months (December 2019, January and February 2020), 1078 jobs have been advertised.

  • 50% of these have been filled by Kookaburra,
  • 5% have been filled by other advertising, or through personal contact
  • almost 8% have been removed because the clinic either gave up looking or restructured their clinic staff to cope.
  • 37% are still available.

Only 4 practices have been advertising continuously for longer than 2 years without filling their vacancy.

Coronavirus Impact

The impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on the veterinary employment market remains to be seen. Potential outcomes could include:

  • Reduced travel for job interviews
  • A decrease in the numbers of overseas qualified vets travelling to Australia to work
  • Reduced networking opportunities if numbers at conferences and vet gatherings are down
  • Vets may put plans for job changes on hold
  • A reduction in the number of vets prepared to travel to locum
  • Delayed retirement plans
  • Economic downturn impacting on veterinary practices

Good News on the Locum Front

Fortunately, we’re currently seeing a small but promising increase in the numbers of vets available for locum work. 15% of the locums registered with Kookaburra are British graduates working to supplement their travel.
The number of locums registered for small animal work has increased by 14% in the last couple of months.

5 Year Plans

One of the questions in the Kookaburra Salary Surveys from 20171 and again in 20192 was ‘Where do you anticipate being in 5 years’ time?’. An increase in the number of vets planning to leave general practice could worsen the veterinary shortage over the coming years.

Graphic showing vet 5 year plans

table showing vet 5 year plans

1 http://www.vetsuppliersdirectory.com.au/2017-salary-survey-results/

2 http://www.vetsuppliersdirectory.com.au/2019-salary-survey-results-part-1/

Wendy Nathan
Kookaburra Veterinary Employment

10th March 2020


This information includes the views and opinions of Kookaburra Veterinary Employment and is of a general nature only. Factual information is believed to be correct at the time of writing, however, should not be relied upon and any person should confirm details with the relevant authorities and through their own research prior to acting on any of the suggestions in this article.

10/03/2020 |

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