College student population
Veterinary medicine and all of its branches are soon to be a female-dominant profession. While the current workforce in all fields of veterinary medicine constitutes of approximately 55% male and 45% female practitioners, the college student population tells a different story.
In the United States in the late 80’s male applicants that wanted to participate in a vet college made almost half of all applicants. By 1999 the percentage in the applicant pool dropped to astonishing 28%. 18 years later the decline of male vet students is under 20%. The shifting trend happens not only in the USA but also Europe, Australia, and Asia.
The exact reason for the feminization of the profession can’t be found. Some supposed explanations why more and more female students enroll into vet schools are general improvements in the use of large animals chemical restraints, eliminated discrimination while admission and increased number of female role models.
Men, on the other hand, avoid becoming veterinarians because of the stagnant incomes (the profession suffers a trend of decreasing revenues) and the corporate loss of autonomy making it harder and harder to own a private practice.
Surveys conducted interviewing vet students and graduates in Australia showed that females decide to build a career in the veterinary medicine profession mostly because of the love of animals, the portrayed image of veterinarians on the social networks, their interest as a child in all living things and the scientific study of disease. On the other hand, a male veterinary practitioner becomes one as a result of the financial attractiveness of the profession and the desire to be independent of supervision by owning a private practice.
Fields of work
Female veterinarians generally choose to work in a private practice having companion animals as target species. Veterinary doctors treating and working with farm animals consist of more than 80% males.
Almost 50% of female graduates and 40% of male graduates continue their careers working in a small animals clinic. The percentage of new female doctors starting to work with large animals is only 4%, while 13% of men take the same step in life.
Desire for ownership
One of the things that both male and female veterinarians are almost equal is the desire for owning a private practice. Yet the differences start appearing later on in their careers. If 80% of men want to own a clinic fresh out of college, over time the ownership desire drops an insignificant ratio of few percent. From the initial 70% of women wanting to be owners, after a couple of years, only half of them keep the same desire.
Difference in revenues
Probably like in most of the professions, there is a significant difference between the salaries of male vs. female veterinarians. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) of the US, women veterinarians have annual earnings of approximately 72.000 $ and men earn around 84.000 $. That’s a 16.5 percent wage gap between genders in the US. The same gap in Australia is 15 %.
Along with the profession becoming female-dominant, because of the lower salaries of women veterinarians, a drop of income for the male veterinarians is soon expected.
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