The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in higher turnover for almost half of Irish veterinary practices last year with an increase in pet ownership levels contributing to greater demand for services, a new report indicates. As vets continue to work long hours, achieving better work/life balance continues to be the top aspiration of vets and their employees.
The study by accountants HLB Sheehan Quinn shows a strong trend with over a third of the vets that responded to questions planning to sell their practice within three years. Almost half of them said turnover increased last year, partly due to new pet owners and people working from home having more time to interact with their pets during the lockdowns.
Achieving better work/life balance is the top aspiration of 60 per cent of vet owners and 85 per cent of employees with many respondents reporting an increased workload last year due to the virus, with 43 per cent working over 50 hours a week and almost one in four putting in more than 60 hours a week. Those working the longest hours tend to be practice owners.
Staffing issues are the top challenge facing veterinary practices and 63 per cent plan to recruit extra vets or veterinary nurses in the next year. The number of incorporated practices is up by 12 per cent when compared to last year. While most practices remain unincorporated, 60 per cent of those surveyed said they would consider incorporating their business.
TV presenter and Aldi ambassador Lucy Kennedy with her labrador puppy Riley