Vet Pay Up; Gender Gap Remains

The professional income of veterinarians in private practice hit $115,447 in 2007, with a $91,000 median, up 4.6 percent annually from 2005 figures

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The mean professional income of veterinarians in private practice hit $115,447 in 2007, with a $91,000 median, up 4.6 percent annually from 2005 figures, the American Veterinary Medical Assn. says in a new report.

However, the AVMA’s 2009 “Report on Veterinary Compen-sation” and “Report on Veteri-nary Practice Business Mea-sures” show that growth may be slowing, with salaries for clinical practitioners up 19.8 percent from 2003 to 2007, compared to 28.8 percent from 1997 to 2001.

From 1997 to 2007, private practitioners averaged annual income growth of 5.9 percent.

“According to our latest biennial economic survey, veterinary incomes are up across the board, but some sectors are doing better than others,” said W. Ron DeHaven, DVM, MBA, chief executive officer of the AVMA.

“Salaries are growing at a higher rate than inflation, which is good news. But we need to further explore the disparities in what veteri-narians earn based on their type of employment and even their gender.”

The compensation report showed that female veterinarians in private practice had a mean annual income of $91,551 ($79,000 median), one-third less than the $138,633 mean ($109,000 median) salary for male veterinarians in private practice.

Male veterinarians, however, generally worked longer hours than female veterinarians, with male owners of private practices working a mean 52 and a median 50 hours a week, compared to 47.3 and 45 hours a week for female practice owners.

Similarly, male associates in private practice worked a mean 47.8 and a median 45 hours a week, compared to a mean 45.4 and median 44 hours a week for female associates.

Still, a female associate may wonder if working one hour less a week is worth $19,566 less than the mean male associate’s income, or $376.27 an hour, nearly 10 times the mean income per hour for female associates. The mean income per hour for all associates was $40.87; the median, $37.98.

The report did not specify the type of work done within a practice, which could explain discrepancies. For example, male veterinarians may perform more higher-margin services than female veterinarians, or female veterinarians may produce fewer billable services per hour by spending more time listening to clients than male veterinarians.

Also, veterinarians tended to earn more based on years in practice, which could factor somewhat into the gender gap.

Salaries grew at similar rates from 2005 to 2007 for male (6.5 percent) and female (6.8 percent) private practice veterinarians. In certain practice types, the gap narrowed more noticeably, with female incomes outpacing male incomes 6.4 percent to 3.8 percent in companion animal exclusive practices and 5.4 percent to 2.3 percent in equine practice.

Female salaries also outpaced male salaries in:

  • Corporate practice, 9.2 percent to 6.2 percent.
  • College and university employment, 12.5 percent to 3.9 percent.
  • Industry, 6.8 percent to 2.7 percent.

The most rapid salary growth is in the food animal sector, where salaries for veterinarians working exclusively with food animals grew at an annual rate of 14.3 percent from 2005 to 2007 and salaries for veterinarians working in mixed-animal practices was up 13.5 percent.

“This is possibly attributable to the shortage of veterinarians in rural areas,” Dr. DeHaven said. “If that’s the case, it shows that those who are hiring food-animal veterinarians recognize that more needs to be done to recruit veterinarians into this critically important field.”

Equine veterinarians showed the slowest annual salary growth, averaging 1.1 percent from 2005 to 2007.

Food-animal exclusive veteri-narians earned the highest mean professional income, $139,612, of veterinarians in private practice and that food-animal predominant veterinarians earned the lowest mean, $107,330.

The 133-page compensation report also breaks down incomes by size of practice, years in practice and size of community practiced in. <HOME>

The mean professional income of veterinarians in private practice hit $115,447 in 2007, with a $91,000 median, up 4.6 percent annually from 2005 figures, the American Veterinary Medical Assn. says in a new report. The mean professional income of veterinarians in private practice hit $115,447 in 2007, with a $91,000 median, up 4.6 percent annually from 2005 figures, the American Veterinary Medical Assn. says in a new report. AVMA, veterinarians, veterinary pay, female veterinarians, male veterinarians, equine veterinarians

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