BVA encourages vet teams to embrace flexible working

BVA encourages vet teams to embrace flexible working

The BVA has launched a campaign encouraging employers to consider whether flexible working might improve job satisfaction among their employees.

The move is designed to help combat veterinary shortages by tackling recruitment and retention issues across the profession.

Statistics from the Voice of the Veterinary Profession Autumn 2021 survey show that levels of flexible working have risen in the profession in recent years, jumping from 44% in 2019 to 50% in 2021. But the survey also showed that many vets would like to work more flexibly than they currently do.

Among those who do not work flexibly, 53% would like to and even among those who already work flexibly 36% would like more flexibility.

The campaign, launched this week as part of BVA’s Good Veterinary Workplaces workstream, includes new resources, to support both veterinary employees seeking increased flexibility and veterinary employers interested in exploring this approach for their team. There is a particular focus on the practicalities of introducing flexible working in clinical settings, where rates of flexible working remain much lower (44% vs. 67%).

BVA Junior Vice President Malcolm Morley said: “The statistics clearly show that there is a huge appetite for more flexibility in working hours, particularly in clinical practice, where employers have previously been quite hesitant to explore this option. We understand that there are potential challenges to allowing more flexibility but we’re hoping to demonstrate that these are not insurmountable.

“It’s vital that the profession recognises that inflexible working patterns contribute to poor retention—recognition is the first stage in finding a solution. Embracing developments in flexible working could increase job satisfaction for many team members and ultimately improve retention.”

The new booklet, Flexible working: Embracing flexibility in the veterinary profession, includes facts, figures and case studies to help demonstrate how flexible working can benefit both employers and employees.

The resource will be available to BVA Members online at from today (5 August) accompanied by a series of blogs, further exploring the challenges and benefits of flexible working. The topic was one of the ‘hot debate’ sessions at BVA’s new BVA Live event in Birmingham last month and future discussions are already planned for BVA Congress at London Vet Show in November.