505 people took part in the survey in August 2019, of which 85% were receptionists. The remainder were RVNs, VCAs or practice managers with some front desk responsibility.
The survey found that 45% were paid between £8 and £9 per hour, with 9% more falling into this salary bracket than in 2018. 5.32% were paid £8 or less per hour.
The Real Living Wage is a figure calculated from the costs of a basket of household goods and services by the Living Wage Foundation, and voluntarily paid by its 6000-odd member companies in the UK. The Living Wage Foundation argues it is a better measure of what people need to get by on than the Minimum Wage (£7.70 for those aged between 21 and 25) or the National Living Wage (£8.21 for those over 25).
63% of veterinary receptionists said they were unsatisfied with their pay. However, it was not the biggest cause of dissatisfaction uncovered by the survey. 67% were dissatisfied with the recognition of the value of their role, and 69% with the career progression options open to them.
70% of respondents said they would like to do more CPD and that the main benefit would be to clients and patients. However, 43% of receptionists said there is no time allowance set aside for them to complete CPD.
Co-founder of BVRA and Honorary Associate Professor In Veterinary Business, Nottingham University, Brian Faulkner (pictured right) 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."
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