CVMA | New Graduate Report

SCVMA New Graduate Survey Report: Class of 2020

Each year, the Students of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (SCVMA) surveys recent graduates from the 5 Canadian veterinary schools. The goal of this survey is to better understand the current conditions in the Canadian veterinary workplace, specifically for new graduates. For 2020, we had 115 participate in the survey with a response rate of 35%. The results below are for DVM students, recent graduates, and the veterinary profession to view. Please note, not every participant responded to every question. The respondents were asked to describe the location where they grew up, as well as the college from which they graduated.

Figure 1. Location of where students were primarily raised (n = 113).

Of those respondents living in a town or city, approximately 34% were from towns smaller than 50 000, whereas the rest grew up in cities with populations greater than 200 000.

Figure 2. School of graduation (n = 110).

Employment data Graduates were questioned about their current positions, search methods used to secure employment, and other various queries. A total of 82% of respondents secured their job prior to graduating, with the majority continuing to work with the same employer. Out of 78 respondents, 92% are still working within the veterinary field, whereas the remainder are not, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the current job market, or taking time away from the profession.

Figure 3. Job search methods that resulted in employment (n = 71).

The figure below shows the current employment type for new graduates within the veterinary profession. Most graduates are employed in a private clinical practice and overall, 44% of new graduates indicated they were very satisfied with their current job.

Figure 4. Current employment type for new graduates within the veterinary profession (n = 78).

The figure below indicates the amount of time respondents spend treating various animal species.

Figure 5. Average amount of time graduates spent treating various animal species (n = 87).

Income and compensation data Respondents (n = 74) indicated their average annual base salary is $79 727. The average annual base salary for graduates currently employed in a residency or part of an internship (n = 22) is $33 795.

Figure 6. Province/Territory of employment (including those employed in residency or part of an internship) and average annual base salary (n = 88).

Figure 7. Average school-related debt upon graduation sorted by school over the last 3 years (n = 73).

Out of 90 respondents, 91% of new graduates are following the same career path they intended (n = 82). Reasons a graduate decided not to continue in veterinary medicine included a lack of positions available in their desired location of practice, changes in their personal life, changes in interest during study and unavailability of internships. New graduate veterinarians work an average of 43 hours per week (n = 90). Furthermore, on average, they work with 8 fulltime veterinarians and 3 part-time veterinarians, though answers were quite variable.

Figure 8. Method of compensation received by respondents (n = 88).

Figure 9. Professional benefits received by graduates in addition to their base salary. Respondents had the option of checking more than one (n = 88).

Other Graduates were asked about their toughest challenges as a new graduate; responses ranged from mental health issues to trouble finding employment to trouble practically applying theoretical knowledge. However, a few trends stood out that are listed in order of decreasing prevalence:

1. COVID-19
2. Lack of confidence
3. Time management
4. Client communication
5. Lack of mentorship

Additionally, respondents were asked if they are currently a member of at least 1 of a variety of professional organizations and affiliations. Please note that all new grads practicing in Canada automatically become a CVMA member until the end of the graduating year.

Figure 10. Professional organizations and affiliations listed by respondents (n = 69).

On behalf of the Students of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, I thank members of the graduating Class of 2020 that took the time to respond to our Annual Graduate Survey!


(by Katie McQueen, Atlantic Veterinary College, Class of 2023)