It’s a well-worn cliché, but a true one, that your employees are your most important asset. Finding the right people for the job is no easy task, but it is essential for the success of the practice and how you advertise for staff has never been more important.
There are currently more veterinary jobs – especially for more experienced vets – than there are vets to fill them. So how do practices run successful recruitment campaigns?
Traditionally, practices simply advertised the job. Later, when recruitment became a little more difficult, the benefits offered by the practice were included in adverts. More recently, the adverts have been worded in a way to really sell the practice to potential employees.
Recruitment techniques have moved on, but in a buyer’s market it’s important that the buyer’s needs, wants and psyche are fully understood.
The millennial vet
When it comes to advertising for staff, we need to be thinking like the people we are advertising to and understand what the barriers are that stop them applying for the job we are offering.
The veterinary world is very different from 20 years ago, there is more pressure on practices from clients regarding both costs and competence. Litigation is one of the stress factors especially for younger vets and life, in general, is far more complex.
An increasing proportion of applicants for veterinary jobs are the millennials who already make up a sizeable proportion of working vets. The millennial vet is a very different vet to the one who qualified in the last years of the twentieth century or earlier.
Millennial vets are influenced by the changes in veterinary practice and are looking for a very different veterinary career from their forebears.
Most do not see a veterinary career as all-consuming and a ‘way of life’ that subsumes all other activities. They see it as a worthwhile, important job that gives them time with friends and family, the right balance of work and non-work and always the ability to choose.
Mental wellbeing is also an important issue and undoubtedly today’s generation of vets find life working in veterinary practice very stressful.
Veterinary practices are appealing to a very different set of emotional factors when they now try to recruit veterinary surgeons. So, if this is the case, managers need to be fully aware of the needs and feelings of the vets they are reaching out to and tailor their advertising to what vets want from a job in the veterinary sector.
Below are some of the more common requirements of today’s vets seeking employment:
- most new and younger vets do not want to do out-of-hours work
- an increasing number of vets don’t want to be on duty at weekends
- many vets want to be able to take mini or longer breaks from work to gain other experiences or to travel
- probably all vets see their work-life balance as one of the most important aspects of their job
- vets want to specialise early because of the ever-expanding field of veterinary medicine
- vets are far more concerned about the ethos of the practice they work for and attitudes towards the community and the environment
- support for new graduates is a big concern for those applying for their first jobs
- increasingly location plays an important part in choosing a job
- not all vets see their job as a lifelong career expecting to move on to another role at some point
- veterinary research is becoming increasingly popular partly as a way of having a nine to five job but also as a means of avoiding the pressures and stresses of potential litigation
- the desire for part-time work is becoming increasingly popular, or work around school hours
- more vets are looking to locum work or even weekend and holiday cover
- ambulatory work is becoming popular especially as the hours worked are often more flexible
- online work is becoming more popular with vets writing content for online services, blogs advice, etc…
It’s a long list and hopefully, most veterinary managers will be aware of the majority of needs and desires of those in the job market. However, it is important to put all this information together and create a picture of the way applicants think and feel. In doing this, you can gear your recruitment techniques and strategies towards those aspects of the practice that meet some of the specific needs of potential employees.
So, what is there about your practice that will appeal to the millennial vet? Do you need to alter some of your working practices to accommodate potential recruits? Do you need new strategies for recruitment? Take a long hard look at the requirements of today’s veterinary workforce, does your practice need to look again at how it attracts employees and can it do it better?
In the next article, we’ll focus on looking at ways to write an appealing advert and what to include.