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Manpower survey reveals increase in womanpower

18 October 2002

The RCVS commissioned comprehensive surveys of veterinary employment in 1998 and 2000. A similar but shorter survey conducted this year has now brought this key information up to date, the main findings of which are summarised below. The full report may be found here (PDF file - 530Kb).

How the Survey was done

Questionnaires were mailed to all 20,000 RCVS members in January this year. About 6,000 forms were returned, a response of 29%, compared with 49% in 2000, and 61% in 1998. Future surveys will probably target a selected sample, to maintain accuracy.

Main Changes
The proportion of women in the profession has continued to increase, to 36% in 2002, compared with 33% in 2000. This shift is changing working patterns, especially in mid-career, when women remain more likely to take career breaks or work part time.

Although the number of men working part time or taking career breaks has increased somewhat, they remain more likely to become practice partners or principals - the number of women doing so having dropped again in the last two years.

The length of the average working week across all categories of veterinary employment was 46 hours, compared to 47 hours in 2000 and 48 hours in 1998.

Veterinary surgeons in practice worked on average 43.3 hours per week, however by removing the effect of part-timers, the average working week increased to 51.6 hours.Hours spent on call have increased by nearly 20% since 2000.

Veterinary time (see chart) spent on small animals has continued to climb, to 73.5%, compared to that on cattle, sheep and pigs which has fallen even further to 7.5%, 1.3% and 0.4% respectively, more or less halving since 1998. Equine work has also dropped again, although not at the same rate, and poultry work has actually rallied slightly. (NB. It should be remembered that the total number of practising vets on the Register continues to rise each year - please see Annual Reports).

New Findings
This year's survey also investigated members' opinion of the CPD they had undertaken and showed that the majority (about 70%) were satisfied with their lot. However, it appeared overall that availability of CPD was of more concern than quality and relevance.

Full report of the 2002 Manpower Survey (PDF file - 531Kb).

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