The gender pay gap in the veterinary profession is very evident. Women in the profession earn significantly less than men, doing the same job. This inequality is largely due to the fact that women are not afforded the same opportunities as men, and are often not promoted to higher positions.
This results in a loss of earnings for women over their careers, not to mention inequalities in super balances and commission schemes. In addition, women are more likely to work part-time or in lower-paid roles within the profession. The gender wage gap is continuing to widen since women are frequently paid less than men in comparable roles and professions.
Just how big is the gender pay gap?
The overall gender pay gap in Australia across all professions is 14.2 percent, which translates to women earning approximately $261 per week less than males—or more than $13,500 each year. The gender pay gap in veterinary science is even more significant, according to the ATO data. Female veterinarians earn an average of $78,176 per year, whereas comparatively male veterinarians make on average $112,950 per year. That’s a total of 44.4% – over three times the national average!
Why does the gender pay gap exist?
There are many reasons why the gender pay gap exists in the veterinary profession. One reason is that women are more likely to take on caring responsibilities, such as childcare, which can result in working fewer hours. In addition, women are often discriminated against when it comes to pay and promotion opportunities. The glass ceiling is a real phenomenon in the veterinary profession, and it means that women are often stuck in lower-paying roles.
Unconscious bias against women’s potential and competence, or perceived lack thereof, is one of the most significant causes of the gender pay gap in the sector. This is particularly evident in the way that women are often treated when they return to work after having children. Unfair assumptions are made about their commitment to their careers, and they are often passed over for promotion or pay rises.
Female representation in the veterinary profession
In the world of veterinary medicine, women are now represented in a greater number of ways. Women have always been underrepresented in both certain areas and at various ranks throughout the history of veterinary science; however, as an industry that has historically been dominated by males, it is changing. Female veterinarians now demonstrate how a formerly male-dominated sector is investing in promoting a workforce led primarily by women.
Senior veterinarians were given identical performance reviews to those given to vets, with a male or female name at random assignment. The male-named profiles were, on average, perceived as 10% more competent and received a greater level of pay than the female-named ones, and they were also more likely to be placed at a higher position. This is an unfair bias that needs to be constantly challenged and changed.
The veterinary profession as a whole is also facing a ‘professional pay gap’. This means that veterinarians are obtaining significantly less than those within other professional degrees with comparatively similar education and training. When considering incomes during the first three years after graduation, almost all professional degrees requiring a similar amount of study will earn a higher wage in comparison to veterinarians.
How can veterinary medicine close the gender pay gap?
Many initiatives that have shown to be effective in a wide range of other sectors may assist in balancing veterinary gender pay inequality. These include mentoring programs that encourage women to take control of their own veterinary practice, the appointment of female veterinary professionals to senior management positions, as well as the establishment of corporate leadership teams gender quotas, and restructuring practices with a primary focus on more flexible ways of working.
It is entirely feasible to make these adjustments, but it will necessitate a shift in mentality among business owners. When looking for a place of employment, ask about the gender pay gap and what the workplace is doing to alleviate the issues prevalent in the veterinary profession. If you receive blank stares – it might just be a red flag to keep moving on with your job search!