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Demographic profile of the veterinary profession in New Zealand, 1985

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The demographic characteristics of the veterinary profession in New Zealand are examined using information supplied by registered veterinarians to the Veterinary Surgeons Board in their applications for annual practising certificates in 1985. Comparisons are made with the veterinary professions in other similar countries, and with the medical and paramedical professions in New Zealand. In 1985 1308 registered veterinarians were working in New Zealand and 304 were overseas, whereas in 1976 the equivalent figures were 748 and 182. This represents an increase of 73% in the number of registered veterinarians in the last 10 years. Eighteen percent of veterinarians were female. The mean age of veterinarians was 38 years, but females in the profession were on average much younger (32 years) than males (42 years). Clinical practice provides employment for 70% of veterinarians: of these 59% work principally with farm animals and 41% with non-farm animals. The remaining veterinarians are employed by Government (22%), University (5%) and Industry (3%). The current demographic structure of the profession has been markedly influenced by the opening of New Zealand’s only veterinary school at Massey University in 1963. Differences from other medical professional populations in New Zealland and overseas principally reflect the marked change in the number and sex ratio of graduates entering the veterinary profession since that time. It will take about another twenty years before the population reaches a stable age and sex structure, assuming that current graduation patterns persist througlhout that period. Because the structure of the population is changing, considerable caution is needed in predicting future employment trends from data for a single year.

Keywords: General; Veterinary profession

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 1988

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