Veterinarians are more than three times more likely than their counterparts in other professions to be female, according to a new study from the University of York.
The study, published in the journal Veterinary Record, found that the number of veterinarians and veterinary assistant positions in the NHS jumped from 6,000 in 2014 to 27,000 last year, with veterinary assistants representing 17% of the total number of veterinary assistant jobs.
The majority of the increases in female veterinarians were due to the increase in veterinary assistant roles, which has seen more women enter the profession in recent years.
Female veterinary assistants make up 15% of all veterinary assistants in the country, according the report, and account for almost half of all female veterinaries.
The number of female veterinals in the public sector also increased, from 16,000 to 21,000.
Female veterinarians are also more likely now to be on disability benefits than their male counterparts.
Women are more often on social welfare benefits and are also likely to take up new roles after leaving their previous roles, according.
The survey also found that more than half of veterinaries said they have had to reduce their staff numbers in order to cater for demand for their services, with one in four saying they had to cut down on staffing in order not to lose business.
Dr Mary-Ann Dolan, a research associate in the University’s Department of Psychology, said: “Our study suggests that women are now more likely in the profession than ever before to be involved in the care of other animals, and this is reflected in their higher demand for veterinary assistant employment.”
While veterinary assistants’ salaries are currently well above the wages of male veterinary assistants, we would expect to see an increase in this area as female veterinars enter the industry.
“Dr Dolan added: “We also found the increased demand for animal care in the healthcare sector, which is the main area where veterinary assistants are sought after, and a significant part of the reason for this is because veterinary assistants will now have to offer a range of services to their clients.
“This is a challenge that is being faced by the veterinary profession and, in the longer term, by healthcare professionals as they face increased demand from a growing number of patients seeking to be treated by veterinary assistants.”
The University of Warwick is the largest veterinary school in the world.