Gender pay gap exists across the UK’s veterinary profession
Evidence that male vets earn more than female vets is “a cause for concern” and lead vet calls for more openness around pay
A salary divide exists between the sexes, according to two UK-wide surveys of the vet professions reported in Vet Record today.
The results echo findings from recent British Veterinary Association (BVA) surveys and are “a cause for concern,” says senior vice president, Gudrun Ravetz. She urges more openness and transparency around pay, and calls for “a system based on objective criteria, to ensure equal pay for equal value.”
Findings from the first survey by CM Research, an agency that specialises in the veterinary and pet sector, found male vets get paid more across all levels and roles.
Based on 2016-17 salary data collected from 810 vets across the UK, it shows that while the average female partner earns £51,315, her male equivalent earns a pre-tax equivalent salary of £69,755 – a difference of £18,440 (a 36% increase).
Female full time vets, for example, earn an average £41,152 per year while their male colleagues earn £46,921 – a difference of almost £6,000 or 12%. The same is true of female part time vets. On average they earn £1,707 less than their male equivalents – worth around 6%.
Female veterinary nurses also earn less than their male peers, with average salaries of £19,594 being almost £3,000 less than male nurses – a 13% difference.
Analyst Camilla Bennison said “these figures show that women get paid less than men in any type of veterinary clinic.”
The second survey, by The Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS), also found a gender pay divide.
Data from 700 vets and 630 veterinary nurses in the UK show a 19% difference between male and female vets’ annual salaries, with men earning a median salary of £50,750 compared with women at £40,960.
When analysed by hourly rates (but not accounting for period qualified) rates for women were 18.6% lower (male vets had a median hourly rate of pay of £27.90, compared with £22.72 for females).
If salaries are examined by period qualified, a more complex picture emerges. While male full-time salaries are consistently higher, the differences are more pronounced at senior level.
For example, among vets qualified for up to 10 years hourly rates are broadly comparable. But there is a significant difference among vets qualified for 11 years or more, when the median hourly rate for female vets is £28.22 compared with £35.27 for male vets – a 20% difference.
“The picture would seem to reflect that seen in other professions where women start out on an equal footing with men, but fall behind as they get older,” says Peter Brown, SPVS president elect. “Unless we address those broader issues which militate against women’s career advancement, there is a risk that significant differences will persist,” he warns.
“These findings clearly show that inequality is a reality for many women working in the veterinary profession day in and day out,” said Adele Waters, Editor of Vet Record.
“If male vets get paid more, it follows that they are valued more highly, but why? There is no evidence to justify such a pay differential and there is a legal reason to remove it. The Equality Act 2010 says men and women in the same employment must receive equal pay for equal work.”
“There is growing scrutiny on the gender pay divide across all employment sectors in the UK – and rightly so. Vet businesses must act now to resolve these unfair pay differentials so that future generations of veterinary professionals do not face discrimination.”
Journal: Vet Record