Future Veterinarians: Younger and Female

(26.10.2019) The majority of European veterinarians in the future will be female. While in 2018 58% of veterinarians of all ages were female, 82% of those under 30 years of age are female.

This is one of the findings of the second VetSurvey about the veterinary profession in Europe that has been conducted by the European Federation of Veterinarians (FVE) between November 2018 and March 2019. Veterinarians located in 30 European countries were asked to complete an online survey.

The objective of the VetSurvey, first held in 2015, is to help understand the current situation of the veterinary profession and to evaluate what actions shall be taken to shape the future of the profession.

“Veterinary services are essential to each and every European citizen, not only for taking care of the health and welfare of Europe’s more than 290 million pet animals and 768 million farm animals, but also to protect people against animal related diseases like salmonellosis”, says FVE president Rens van Dobbenburgh, Veterinarians make an important contribution to our society, because they protect the environment and they boost the economy, says former FVE president Rafael Laguens.

The veterinary sector today

The VetSurvey reveals that 58% of the veterinary professionals are female, a 5% increase compared to the previous study carried out in 2015. In Finland, Latvia, and Sweden even today more than 80% of the vets are women while in Romania, Serbia, and Turkey women represent only 35% of the veterinary profession.

According to the study, the vets feel very well respected in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. In Italy, North Macedonia and Spain, the majority of the veterinarians feel that they do not get the appreciation they deserve. “The new VetSurvey results show that veterinarians perceive that on average the reputation of our profession amongst the general public is lower than what they would have expected.

Only 37% of vets feel they are very highly or highly regarded. Therefore, an improved communication of what veterinarians contribute to European society is key”, adds FVE Executive Director, Jan Vaarten. In addition, we see the trend that veterinarians are increasingly opting for the small animal sector - with the result that we will have a shortage of veterinarians for large animals in the future.

In 2018, 64% of the veterinary practice income came from companion animals. Subsequently, in the veterinary practice the use of preventive treatments such as vaccines has increased while the use of antibiotics has decreased, that way helping to avoid antimicrobial resistance and contributing to public health.

Future outlook for veterinarians

Looking into the future, the areas in which veterinarians will be needed most by society, are those related to the One Health concept, including pet health in the family, food safety and food quality, disease control for public health, animal welfare and environmental health.

To face future challenges, one of the top priorities for European veterinarians is to become more specialised in several areas.

Likewise, better preparation for business will be required and improved digital skills will be crucial. Eight out of ten veterinarians currently use at least one type of social network for professional purposes.

The highest social media usage amongst veterinarians we currently see in Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, and Slovenia (+90%). Vets in Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, and the UK show the lowest rates of social media use in Europe (under 75%).

FVE and MSD Animal Health committed to improve veterinary reputation The 2018 VetSurvey was funded by MSD Animal Health. Elzo Kannekens (DVM), Global Director of Public Policy and Multilateral Affairs at MSD Animal Health, reinforces the value and importance of the veterinary profession in sharing their knowledge and expertise to help shape the future of the animal health industry.

“Veterinarians are a leading force in delivering a vital contribution to ensure that animal health products and solutions improve the health of animals, ensure sustainable quality food supplies, protect public health and help people and pets enjoy their lives together.

In funding this survey, we want to help ensure that the veterinary profession can continue to develop and gets the reputation and appreciation it deserves.”

The VetSurvey 2018 can be downloaded here: www.fvesurvey.com



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