The 4 factors that attract and retain top veterinary talent

Every practice is struggling to attract and retain top veterinary talent–but why are some struggling more than others?

A new McKinsey report has crunched the numbers and revealed the answer: the factors that make the best candidates want to apply, and the factors that make them want to stay.

The solution isn’t easy, but it is simple. They’re the same factors. In other words, once you get these four ducks in a row, you’ll not only be better than your competitors at hiring, you’ll also have to do it less often.



In a candidate-short market (a market that’s short of candidates, which this one is very), the law of supply and demand pushes salaries higher. It not only costs more to attract talented people, but also to retain them.

Paying people fairly and generously makes them feel valued and secure, which creates loyalty. That’s why it’s vital to be aware of salary benchmarks for every role in your practice–not just the ones you’re recruiting for.


#2—Meaningfulness of work

You might think this one is irrelevant in the vet industry, where the work is about as meaningful as it gets–but think again. For example, how much are you allowing your nurses to contribute to the lifesaving work of the practice? How much of their day consists of cleaning and feeding versus actually using their medical skills? What fulfilling responsibilities do you give to your junior vets?

Giving people meaningful responsibilities makes them feel respected. When you do this in your practice, and talk about it on social media and in job ads, your employer brand will reach new heights. You’ll naturally attract and retain top veterinary talent with a passion for their work and an affinity with your values.


#3—Workplace flexibility

In the vet industry, flexibility used to be something you expected of your workforce, not something you offered them. Now more and more practices are recognising that it has to go both ways, especially as burnout remains a serious issue.

A recent BVA survey revealed that 50% of vets now have some flexibility at work–but 44% want more. If you’re not offering flexible or part-time hours yet, you’ll lose out to practices that do. And while veterinary professionals can’t take much of their work home with them, let them take home what they can.


#4—Career development and advancement

If you want to attract and retain top veterinary talent with ambition and a love of learning, you need to provide structured development pathways–and be vocal about them. Invest in training and mentoring so that staff at all levels of your practice have plenty of opportunities to explore their interests, upgrade their skills, and grow their careers.

Again, this will do wonders for your employer brand. Most talented veterinary professionals want to go as far as they can, and are looking for an employer who’ll support them in that. When they see a future with you, they’ll want to join, and they’ll want to stay.


There’s a common thread running through these four factors: becoming a valued employer is all about demonstrating that you value your people.


As expert recruiters in the veterinary industry, our relationships with candidates help us find the right people who match your values and ambitions. We have the opportunity to really sell aspects of your business and build a trusting relationship throughout the process. We urge you to get in touch for your locum and permanent recruitment needs.

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