Women: Half of associates want ownership stake

Women: Half of associates want ownership stake

Oct 01, 2004

CLEVELAND—Almost half of women associates surveyed cite an interest in practice ownership/partnership despite speculative fear that the next generation will avoid the management headaches.

Associates respond
The findings were part of an exclusive DVM Newsmagazine survey that was mailed to 2,500 veterinarians and posted 844 useable responses. The survey achieved a 34-percent response rate. (See "Practice characteristics", p. 35.)

Table 2 Plans 3-5 years from now?
The results come in the wake of projections by the American Veterinary Medical Association-sponsored KPMG mega study that projected 2004 as the landmark year that women take the majority in veterinary medicine. The trend itself poses some significant professional issues. While most women are opting for small animal practice, the demographic changes have placed significant pressure on a profession that has its direct roots in agriculture. As a result, organized food animal groups are funding studies to determine the long-term impact as reported in DVM Newsmagazine

In small animal medicine, the anecdotal fear that women will not pick up the torch for small animal practice ownership has been a cry echoing among practice owners for more than a decade.

Table 3 importance of understanding business
The DVM Newsmagazine survey sought to answer this question as well as gauge the professional and personal wants of men and women when it comes to balancing the question of practice ownership, work-life balance, compensation and volunteerism in organized veterinary medicine.

Ownership bandwagon According to the survey, about one-quarter of the respondents cited a need to either own the practice or become a partner in the existing practice when asked about their career plans in the next three to five years.

Table 4 Importance of understanding business for female Associates
When the data were analyzed by responding associate veterinarians, some interesting differences emerge in the ownership category (Table 1, p. 1). Of those responding female associates (171), 21 percent say they would like to own their own practice, while another 30 percent would like to move into partnership positions. Of the male associates responding to the survey (69), 23 percent would like to become owners, and 44 percent have partnership aspirations.

Dr. Marsha Heinke of Marsha L. Heinke, CPA of Grafton, Ohio, says: "I don't know that there has been factual information one way or another. Historically, all you have been able to do is point to anecdotal evidence or in 'my humble opinion' commentary. It appears women are very interested in owning practices, but my impression is they have a different style for doing it, and they have a different timeline for accomplishing it."

Heinke says the generation of veterinarians from the mid-70s started the pendulum swinging toward more women in veterinary schools.