Protect yourself from salary flames!

Unless you live in an area without internet, you have surely heard of the shortage of qualified staff. Our profession is certainly going through a crisis. It is practically full of employment opportunities and as we are experiencing economic growth, people are more inclined to invest in medical expenses for their animals. That’s the good news! The lesser news is that the law of supply and demand applies to employees-employers; we find that the limiting factor is no longer finding clients, but rather employees to provide the services.

Nice problem, some will say. If you are a veterinary facility owner who is exhausted and desperately trying to recruit an AHT and a veterinarian, the reality is a little less rosy. The process of recruiting now seems reversed; some managers feel they are “passing” an interview rather than the other way around. Some AHT graduates reported 2-3 job offers without having even done research. What happens to wages? They are growing faster than inflation. So you find yourself in front of a candidate who asks you for substantially more than the hourly rate of your most senior AHT. What do you do?


Do you feel that if you let this AHT or veterinarian go, your team will collapse under the tasks? The pearl you hoped for presents itself but demands a disproportionate salary? Do not embark on hourly rates in the war, because comparing them between employers without spending the right time looking at all the social benefits can amount to comparing apples to oranges.

An employee’s total compensation is an exercise in which the employer estimates the value of all the benefits enjoyed by his or her employees and adds these benefits to the salary to arrive at a total amount. Each employee then appreciates the benefits they would otherwise take for granted. Considering that this practice is not widespread in veterinary medicine, a candidate will see in your overall remuneration a more attractive amount. At the same time, this exercise allows you to explain the values ​​and mission of the company. We’ve heard it for over a decade; Millennials need to feel that they contribute to a meaningful project. So if your institution offers a continuing education budget and offers certification to its employees or a subsidized hourly rate to the certified holder, the candidate can deduce that you are an employer who relies on the skills of your employees.

If your institution contributes to employees’ VRSPs and offers bonuses to performance, you can explain that your vision of success lies in recognizing employee participation in economic strength. If your institution pays its employees who participate in pro bono activities (not all practices pay their employees for the pro bono activities), your vision doubly supports the causes that matter to you by encouraging your employees to participate. If your institution offers paid sick days or more weeks of vacation, the message is that you value work-life balance. It must also be quantified.

Each benefit should be husked and added to the list; purchase of uniforms, employer’s contribution to group insurance, social activities, etc. Your employees and candidates will be surprised to see the total amount you invest in them. They will also have a much harder time comparing offers. And you will have had the opportunity to clearly expose your business vision.


You do not have the time to count the total compensation, now the candidate makes a counter-offer. Resist the temptation of giving them a salary similar to your senior AHT hoping that everything stays secret. You may lose more than an employee when the team finds out. The feeling of injustice can leave a bad taste in one’s mouth. Try another tactic that leaves no financial consequences: a signing bonus.

The term “bonus” is in itself a little risky, because it is perceived as an indicator of excellence. Instead, a more general term can be used as an inducement or integration measure. Cases of employers who offered to pay a washer-dryer set to a new employee are rather ingenious. The advantage is that the proposed salary remains in the salary range of the company, but the new employee feels that he is making a substantial immediate gain (this is a concept that Loto-Québec is working very well with the “winners”). for life “: a lump sum moment immediately or a higher moment that requires a wait). In subsequent years, this gain will not be repeated. The team should also be told that this was necessary to encourage the AHT or veterinarian to join the ranks otherwise the entire team would have suffered. In all transparency, the team will be more understanding.

The key to success during times of scarcity: be prepared and be creative!

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