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Attracting veterinary talent in a competitive market
It is important to evaluate current recruiting processes and engage existing employees within an organization.
“Where is everyone posting job ads for veterinary technicians?”
“We are not getting hits on our job ads.”
“We barely received any resumes or none.”
These are the most common statements I often hear with veterinary practice managers. We all wish to have a veterinary technician with years of experience, expectations of a reasonable wage, and exuding dependability walk in. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth of veterinary technicians from 2020 to 2030 is 15%. Veterinary technician has one of the highest rates in demand than most career paths, but veterinary technicians’ schools may be scarce in some geographical regions.
There is no magic to recruiting veterinary technicians, but some excellent practices can help you become more strategic with attracting talent to your practice.
The labor market is competitive, and everyone knows that veterinary wages are becoming competitive with other businesses. It can be challenging for companies like the mom-and-pop practices to compete with corporations, but there are ways to be strategic in your business model.
One key consideration is to conduct a competitive salary analysis. Do you know what other competitors are paying their employees? What type of benefits are they offering? Conducting a competitive salary analysis can help your organization identify fair wages in the current market and how your compensation structure compares to the competitors. You can perform the analysis by doing online research such as searching job postings on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) also has a compensation and benefits survey report that can be viewed on their website for free to VHMA members. A competitive salary analysis also increases your employee retention and engagement. When it is time for annual performance reviews, you will be able to know where the market is on compensation for your support staff and have a better understanding of the proper salary for your team members.
Finally, candidates tend to seek compensation in the heading of the job posting. They will often analyze the advertised wage by seeing if it will compensate for their needs and wants. If you don’t post or advertise your wages, most candidates don’t care to apply and move on to the next job posting.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, sign-on bonuses have been more commonly used to attract job seekers, as the number of open positions in the market increases. According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, nearly 1 million jobs were added in the United States in August 2021, with a record-setting of 10.1 million jobs.1
It has become increasingly challenging for the service industry to hire staff, which is why many businesses across the nation are offering sign-on or retention bonuses. According to GlobalData, the advertising for sign-on bonuses on job postings increased in all sectors by 454%, from 10,312 positions in August 2020 to 57,123 in August 2021.2
Sign-on bonuses can help attract talent and get a candidate through your doors. Like wage transparency on job postings, sign-on bonuses attract candidates to your job posting and shows more about your veterinary practice. The labor market, overall, saw sign-on bonuses ranging from $150 to $100,000 in 2021, with animal care noted by GlobalData as a field with surging hiring bonuses. Banfield Pet Hospital, for example, was reportedly offering up to $60,000 to new hires in veterinary-related roles.2
Presenting written job offers is not required with offers commonly presented informally through verbal conversation in-person or via phone calls. Presenting a written offer that documents what their potential job entails adds value when contemplating offers from multiple organizations and helps candidates make faster decisions when all opportunities are laid out. Candidates will be able to see critical information in their written offers such as payment, job title, health care benefits, and additional compensation that will be offered if accepted. Importantly, written job offers make sure the candidate and the organization are on the same page with the job details and reduce confusion on what was offered or presented.
In a Glassdoor Survey, about 60% of respondents reported being strongly attracted to perks and benefits offered in a job posting.3 Presenting a competitive benefits package can increase the attractiveness of job seekers and candidates looking for long-term employment. Benefits that seem to attract recruited technicians include the following:
- Medical, dental, and vision Insurance
- Flexible time, paid time off and sick pay
- Veterinary technician program scholarships or sponsorships, including license and examination fees
- Continuing education allowances
- Uniform/scrub allowances
- Wellness programs such as gym memberships, healthy snacks, or discounted meal prep services.
As the labor market continues to be increasingly competitive and retaining top talent becomes difficult, it is important to evaluate your current recruiting processes and engage existing employees within your organization. Research has shown that competitive pay to competitive benefits can boost visibility to candidates seeking new employment and displays that the organization values their people by offering benefits that positively influence their personal life and professional growth.
Mary Lopez, MSOL, is a hospital and area manager at National Veterinary Associates, in Boise, Idaho.
- Kelly J. A record setting over 10 million new jobs are now available. Forbes. August 10, 2021. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2021/08/10/a-record-setting-over-10-million-new-jobs-are-now-available/?sh=4a4643181c17
- Roles offering sign-on bonus increase by a whopping 454% amid staff shortages, finds GlobalData. Globaldata.com. September 7, 2021. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.globaldata.com/roles-offering-sign-bonus-increase-whopping-454-amid-staff-shortages-finds-globaldata/
- Glassdoor’s 5 job trends to watch in 2016. Glassdoor.com. January 12, 2016. Accessed May 16, 2022. https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/glassdoors-5-job-trends-watch-2016/