Factors affecting retention of veterinary practitioners in Ireland: a cross-sectional study with a focus on clinical practice
AuthorRyan, Eoin G.
Beatty, Stephen H.
MetadataShow full item record
StatisticsDisplay Item Statistics
CitationRyan, E.G., Beatty, S.H., Gray, E. et al. Factors affecting retention of veterinary practitioners in Ireland: a cross-sectional study with a focus on clinical practice. Ir Vet J 75, 13 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13620-022-00222-9
AbstractBackground Retention of veterinary practitioners has arisen as a significant problem in recent years in Ireland. No prior Irish peer-reviewed publications have addressed this problem. An online questionnaire was available through social media and via email to Irish vets from January to November 2019. The aim of this survey was to ascertain the factors contributing to the problem of vet retention in Ireland. Results A total of 370 eligible responses were received. The median age of respondents was 31 and the gender balance was 250 females (68%) to 118 males (32%). The majority of respondents worked in clinical practice 322 (89%), with 138 (42.8%) in mixed practice, 115 (35.7%) in small animal practice, 49 (15.2%) solely with farm animals and 20 (6.2%) in equine practice. Fifty-four percent of respondents described themselves as likely to be leaving their current job within two years and 32.8% as being likely to leave the profession. In total, 44 variables were assessed by univariate analysis and 27 variables were significantly (P < 0.05) associated with the likelihood of a respondent leaving their current job within 2 years (LCJ2), as a proxy measure of the problem of retention. All variables significant on univariate analysis at P < 0.2 were included in a multivariable logistic regression model. Factors associated with LCJ2 included satisfaction with work-life balance (Odds Ratio (OR) 0.33); satisfaction with working hours (OR 0.2); number of years qualified (OR 0.91); position as a practice owner/partner/director (OR 0.15); and log10salary (OR 0.03). Four variables were retained in a separate multivariable linear regression model as significant (P < 0.05) predictors of log10salary. Log10salary increased with years qualified. Males had an increased salary compared to females irrespective of years qualified. Part-time employees, vets on maternity leave or postgraduate vets had a lower log10salary. Compared to veterinary employees, self-employed or locum vets had a higher log10salary. Conclusions Veterinary employers should consider salary, working hours and the facilitation of a good work-life balance in order to successfully retain veterinary employees. The significant difference in salaries currently offered to male and female vets, and the high percentage of respondents considering leaving the profession, are important findings and warrant further investigation.
FunderProgressive Veterinary Network