Increasing graduate numbers over the last five years have had little impact on veterinary job prospects, according to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).
The evidence comes from a survey carried out for the RCVS by the Institute for Employment Studies, which asked the last five years’ UK graduates who have registered with the College how long it took them to find work, how long they stayed in their first jobs, and why they moved on.
The online survey, which achieved a 43% response rate (1,354 responders), found that an average of 94% of graduates seeking a role in clinical practice obtained work within six months of starting to look.
The actual figure ranged from a high of 96% in 2008 to a low of 92% in 2010, and did not change significantly over the five years under consideration, despite UK graduate numbers increasing by around a quarter during the same period (from 650 in 2007, to 819 in 2012). Meanwhile, the College has registered an average of 618 overseas graduates annually during this time.
The survey did show that it was taking graduates slightly longer to secure their posts, with a shift from 85% securing work under three months in 2008, to 71% in 2012.
The results seem to suggest some small differences in the time taken for men and women to find their first jobs, with men finding jobs slightly quicker, although the vast majority of both genders found veterinary work.
“After the announcement from the University of Surrey that it will be opening a new vet school in the near future, there was a great deal of discussion amongst the profession about how easily new graduates could find employment. I undertook to get some real facts and am pleased to find that the picture is not as gloomy as predicted,” said Jacqui Molyneux, RCVS President, as she revealed the headline figures at RCVS Day today [5 July, Royal College of Physicians].
Jacqui was, however, concerned that there has been a slight increase in the proportion of respondents who left their first position after a relatively short period of time. Amongst 2012 graduates, over 40% of those who had left their first position did so within three months of starting work. However it must be stressed that only 18% of those answering the survey who graduated in 2012 had already left their first position.
“Although the turn-over in first jobs seems to be, in part, due to an increase in temporary posts, I am saddened to see that the most commonly-cited reason for graduates leaving their first job was lack of support from their employers or professional colleagues,” she said.
“This is an area that we, as a profession, must address. As I have told all the students I have admitted to the College, their first jobs will influence their whole careers, and getting adequate support is probably the single most important factor. Meanwhile, it is heartening to see that nearly all of those moving on have obtained further employment,” she added.
Although the survey was sent to all those UK graduates who had registered with the RCVS within the last five years, the contact details for those who had subsequently de-registered may not have been up to date, which may mean that those who had de-registered because they could not find work were not well represented. However, it is more likely that these individuals would have switched to the ‘non-practising’ category.
A summary of the headline survey results will be available at www.rcvs.org.uk/publications. The full findings, which also looked at the time taken to complete the Professional Development Phase and the type and location of work sought, will be available in due course.
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