When you consider the cost of living in your area, you get a clearer picture of what you need to pay to attract and keep strong team members.
I know of a large medical complex located in Santa Barbara, Calif., that often struggles to find affordable housing for its highly trained nursing and technical staff membersand they often earn upwards of $70,000 a year. In a much smaller communitylike Los Olivos, Calif., where Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center is locateda combination of fewer homes and lower wages makes the problem even worse.
Of course, you want to pay your employees competitively. But you also need to consider the costs to live in your area. You'll gain a better understanding of the challenges your employees face and of what you need to pay to keep great employees.
Dr. Mark Rick is senior associate veterinarian at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center Inc. in Los Olivos, Calif. He works with 34 team members, including veterinarians, staff members, and barn personnel. Please send questions to [email protected].
Pay and living expenses in the top four cities for veterinary technologists and technicians
Here's a comparison of pay and living expenses for the four cities that the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor lists as having the highest concentration of veterinary technologists and technicians.
City Population Annual mean wage for veterinary technologists/ technicians Average yearly utility cost Average household total consumer expenditures per year Fort Collins, Colo. 5,531 $22,760 $4,137 $53,052 Gainesville, Fla. 12,854 $21,690 $3,405 $43,857 College Station, Texas 29,008 $17,670 $3,876 $49,878 Yuba City, Calif. 27,689 $25,180 $4,109 $50,683 National average 11,571 $25,350 $3,251 $41,554
Sources: Occupational Employment and Wages, November 2003, Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor; http://realestate.yahoo.com (Research Neighborhoods)