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What are Employers Looking for in New Veterinary Graduates? A Content Analysis of UK Veterinary Job Advertisements

Perrin, H C


H C Perrin


As veterinary educators, we have a responsibility to ensure that our graduates are prepared for working life. Veterinary practices, like any other businesses, rely on good employees, and the implications of a poor match between newly employed veterinarian and employing practice could be extremely costly in terms of personal well-being and enjoyment of work as well as the time, financial, and goodwill costs of high staff turnover for the practice. Contemporary veterinary curricula encompass a range of teaching to complement the clinical content; including communication, teamwork, problem solving, and business skills, to support good practice and increase the employability of new graduates. Previous studies have examined the qualities required of early career veterinarians as viewed by educators, recent graduates, pet owners, and practitioners; however, nobody has previously constructed a picture of the employment market for new veterinary graduates by exploring the nature of its recruitment advertising. Three months of UK veterinary job advertisements were examined. Content analysis yielded 10 distinct characteristics desired by employers of early career veterinarians. The most common by far was “enthusiasm,” followed by an interest in a particular area of practice, being an “all-rounder” (i.e., having a broad range of skills), demonstrating good communication skills, teamwork, client care, and independence, as well as being caring, ambitious, and having high clinical standards. While several of these qualities are expected and are specifically taught in veterinary school, the dominance of “enthusiasm” as a specifically desired trait raises interesting questions about the characteristics of veterinary students who we are supporting, encouraging, or maybe even suppressing, during veterinary training.


Perrin, H. C. (2019). What are Employers Looking for in New Veterinary Graduates? A Content Analysis of UK Veterinary Job Advertisements. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education, 46(1), 21-27.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 25, 2017
Publication Date Mar 1, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2018
Publicly Available Date Nov 4, 2019
Print ISSN 0748-321X
Publisher University of Toronto Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Issue 1
Pages 21-27
Public URL


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