Veterinary services among worst offenders for gender pay gap

British Veterinary Union: employers must be more transparent about their pay structures to reduce pay inequality

Reading time: 3 min

The British Veterinary Union in Unite are disappointed but not surprised that 4 out of 10 companies in the recently published BBC survey on the top ten UK companies with the worst gender pay gap, are companies providing veterinary services in the United Kingdom. These four companies employ over half of the veterinary workforce in the UK and this reality offers a mirror on the reality of veterinary sector pay.

The BVU in Unite hear on a daily basis from their members on the realities of their wage packet, a salary that in today’s economic climate does simply not go far enough. This gender pay gap reflects pay of veterinary surgeons, but also that of veterinary nurses, animal care assistants, receptionists and other staff who are often paid particularly poorly.

Pay is just one example of how badly members of the veterinary professional teams are treated with bullying, harassment, inequality and misogyny all traits that exist in the wider veterinary sector.

This could also create disparity when it comes to gender-seniority relationships, exacerbating outdated and imbalanced hierarchies within the veterinary workplace.

We would hope that this survey will encourage the four companies named in this report to reflect on the terms and conditions of the veterinary staff they employ and make swift changes to improve the working experience of their staff. It is important these companies recognise that low pay is a real issue especially when their employees are faced with rising prices across the board and the rate of RPI has again risen to a recent high of 13.8%.

Veterinary employers must be more transparent about their pay structures, and must ensure they have the procedures in place to reduce pay inequality, in particular around maternity policies and part time work.

The BVU in Unite would hope that if this survey were to be repeated next year that no veterinary employers will appear on it and we are happy to meet with those companies in the true spirit of partnership working to the benefit of staff, their employers and the animals in their care.

By Suzanna Hudson-Cooke BVetMed MRCVS, British Veterinary Union in Unite Branch Chair