Two new surveys reported in the Vet Record this week have revealed a gender pay gap of up to 36% in the UK veterinary profession.
The first survey, which was conducted by CM Research, found that male veterinary surgeons get paid more across all levels and roles.
Based on 2016-17 salary data collected from 810 vets across the UK, the survey showed 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 (36% more).
The survey also found that female full time vets earn an average £41,152 per year while their male colleagues earn £46,921 – a difference of almost £6,000 or 12%.
On average, female part time vets were found to be earning £1,707 less than their male equivalents – 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.
The second survey was conducted by The Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS). It looked at data from 700 vets and 630 veterinary nurses in the UK and found a 19% difference between male and female veterinary surgeons’ 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).
When salaries were examined by period qualified, a more complex picture emerged. 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.
Peter Brown, SPVS president elect said: “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. Unless we address those broader issues which militate against women’s career advancement, there is a risk that significant differences will persist.”
Adele Waters, Editor of Vet Record said: “These findings clearly show that inequality is a reality for many women working in the veterinary profession day in and day out.
“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.”
The BVA says the results echo findings from its own surveys. Senior vice president, Gudrun Ravetz described it as “a cause for concern”, urging more openness and transparency around pay and calling for “a system based on objective criteria, to ensure equal pay for equal value.”
This has all comes just as The Vet Service has increased its strategic input into handling salary and benefits negotiations for its members so these components are transparent to each person if they are going through a new employment process. Support and advice on these matters is offered at any time and conversations are of course, confidential.
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