The 2019 Survey of Compensation and Benefits for Veterinary Managers is a member service provided by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) and the Veterinary and Emergency Critical Care Society (VECCS). The biannual survey examines the level of compensation and benefits provided to veterinary managers, as well as the factors that can influence those levels.
About the 2019 Survey
The Survey of Compensation and Benefits for Veterinary Managers is conducted at two-year intervals to ensure timely information about compensation levels and to isolate the factors that may influence data and trends. The Survey was distributed to 2,349 VHMA and VECCS members and 496 completed questionnaires were returned for a response rate of 21%. Most responses (97%) were from the United States and 3% were from Canada.
Comparing 2019 wage information to data from the 2013, 2015 and 2017 reports show an increase in salaries, hours worked and hourly wages for managers. The average office manager earned more and worked more hours, which translated into a 2% increase in median hourly wage among this subset of respondents. The 10% increase in annual salary enjoyed by practice managers was offset by a 4% increase in annual hours worked, resulting in a 6% increase in hourly wages. The salaries of hospital administrators showed a slight increase, and the number of hours worked declined, the group experienced a 5% increase in hourly wages.
Compensation by characteristics
Compensation by type of practice revealed that hospital administrators in specialty practices received the highest compensation ($110,000), for a median hourly wage---after factoring in hours worked---of $50.93. Practice managers working in feline practices earned the lowest salaries overall ---$42,738 annually which is $19.79 hourly after calculating hours worked.
Median salaries and hourly wages generally increased as experience increased for practice managers and hospital administrators. For office managers, experience did not play a role in determining salaries or hourly wages.
For practice managers and administrators, years at current location impacted salary, which increased as the length of time with a practice grew, and annual hours worked, which decreased with increased seniority. Salary increases and decreased hours led to increases in average hourly wages for this group.
Across the board, credentials make a difference. Office managers with a university degree earned the most in that job type while practice managers with PHR/SPHR and CVPM were the top earners. Post-grads, DVMs, managers with PHR/SPHR certification and CVPMs working as hospital administrations earn the highest salaries.
The number of hospitals managed affected both annual salaries and calculated hourly wages for practice managers and hospital administrators. Practice managers who manage more than one hospital earn at least $6,000 more per year than those who manage one. Practices managers responsible for three or more hospitals earned higher salaries but reported working an additional 460 hours per year bringing their calculated hourly wage closer to managers of single hospitals. but there was limited growth in salary or hourly wage beyond two hospitals.
For veterinary managers of all types, there was a strong correlation between median annual salary and the number of staff managed.
Other factors impacting compensation
In 2019, close to 75% of respondent did not have an employment contract, but office managers and hospital administrators with contracts earned significantly higher salaries. Although practice managers with employment contracts earned slightly higher salaries, this gain was accompanied with an increase in hours worked.
Where respondents live also impacted compensation. The highest hourly wage for practice managers after adjusting annual salary for hours worked, was $33.51 in Kentucky. The lowest hourly wage was reported by respondents from Alabama who earned $17.82 per hour after adjusting annual salary by hours worked.
Hospital administrators from Ontario reported an adjusted hourly rate of $65.22, followed by hospital administrators from Nebraska who reported an adjusted rate of $47.40. Ohio hospital administrators reported the lowest hourly rate: $15.40.
Tasks and benefits
The survey yielded valuable data about the tasks and job duties performed by job description. Respondents responded to a comprehensive list of tasks to reveal the tasks performed by position and the amount of time devoted to the task.
Regarding benefits, respondents provided information about vacation time and weighed in on an extensive list of close to 20 benefits to paint a detailed picture of employer provided benefits.
One of the most important takeaways of the survey is that in 2019, hospital administrators are more satisfied with their jobs and where they work.
VHMA Members can download the complete report for free through the MemberConnect Community. Non-members may download an executive summary here or purchase the full report here.