Over three-quarters (77 per cent) of Australian veterinarians are dissatisfied with the industry and 70 per cent would advise against starting a career in the industry.

A new survey by Professionals Australia on veterinarian employment revealed the alarming statistics, with many veterinarians experiencing high stress, understaffing, long working hours, customer abuse, and low pay, resulting in low morale and a suicide rate four times higher than the general population.

Jill McCabe, CEO of Professionals Australia, said while deeply dedicated to their profession and to animal health, many veterinarians are experiencing stress and burnout due to increased work demand, long hours, inadequate remuneration, and gruelling work conditions.

“While already stretched, Australia’s veterinarians had to contend with the addition of 3 million ‘pandemic pets’ in just two years, worsening existing issues with understaffing and unpaid overtime. As result, our already hard-working veterinarians have been pushed to the absolute brink.

“Demand for veterinary services increased during the pandemic and this further intensified workloads and pressure. As a result, many of our already hard-working veterinarians have been pushed to the absolute brink and are wanting to leave the industry.”

McCabe said the results of the survey, which was completed by 510 veterinarians from across Australia, demonstrated the need for major industrial relations reform.

“The results clearly make the case for the measures proposed in the Albanese Government’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill, which will further assist vets to improve their pay and conditions by making bargaining more accessible.

“Our union will be working hard to drive improvements in veterinarians’ pay and conditions through the industrial relations system and better health and safety practices in veterinarian workplaces, including mental health support for vets.”

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