Veterinary receptionist salary survey shows 65% are at or below the realistic Living Wage

The British Veterinary Receptionist Association has announced the results of its second salary survey. The salary was completed by 503 respondents, of whom 85% were receptionists.* The survey shows that most receptionists are paid £8 to £9 per hour (45%), with 9% more falling into this salary bracket than in 2018. The Living Wage Foundation says the living wage should realistically be set at £9 across the UK (or £10.55 in London) – although the National Living Wage is currently £8.21 for those over 25 years of age.** The Conservative party has pledged to increase the living wage to £10.50 in the next five years and the Labour party to £10 by 2020. The £10.50/hour wage band would, according to the survey figures, mean that over 65% of receptionists would have a pay increase.

Although more receptionists are in the £8-9/ hour bracket this year, in the higher income brackets, just over a fifth (22%) are paid £10 per hour or over – down 9% from 2018.

Only 37% reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their pay. However, pay is not the most significant influencer of job satisfaction. Just a third (33%) were satisfied or very satisfied with recognition and only 31% satisfied or very satisfied with progression.

An impressive 70% of respondents would like to do more CPD and believe that the main benefit would be to clients and patients. When it comes to allocating time for CPD, 43% of receptionist say there is no time allowance set aside for them to complete CPD.

Satisfaction was highest with safety in the job. Teamworking, hours and facilities were all rated as sources of satisfaction by over 60% of respondents. Despite there being some areas for improvement, some 54% said they had no intention of changing practices.

When it comes to relationships, 91% say patients are the most important source of job satisfaction and 75% are satisfied or very satisfied with the contribution clients make to overall job satisfaction.

With wellbeing high on the agenda in the profession, less than half (48%) say they are satisfied or very satisfied with overall practice morale, with morale in the receptionist team a little higher at 55%.

Co-founder of BVRA and Honorary Associate Professor In Veterinary Business, Nottingham University, Brian Faulkner said, “A large part of the client experience is centred around the waiting room and receptionist area and our members work hard to ensure that experience is positive. We have an increasing number looking to upskill and the appetite for CPD is clearly there. If we can envisage a scenario where the minimum wage is set at £10.50 an hour, that would mean that around 65% of veterinary receptionists would need a pay increase. I don’t think any of us believe that veterinary receptionists are currently doing an unskilled job and a key mission of BVRA is to achieve greater recognition of the value they bring to practices, both as colleagues and commercially.”