Is There Enough Locum Work to Go Around in 2024?

As we dive into the veterinary world of 2024, one question echoes through the profession: Is there enough work for locums? While the locum market has seen a surge in recent times, some argue that saturation might be a cause for concern. As a locum myself, I’d like to explore this issue and shed light on how the changing dynamics are influencing our roles.

The Impact of COVID-19, puppy boom and Brexit:

We can’t talk about the locum market without mention to these three.

The seismic shifts brought about by the global pandemic and the aftermath of Brexit have had profound effects on the veterinary profession. COVID-19 not only posed challenges in terms of health and safety but also triggered a change professional’s mindset that perhaps were brewing but was escalated during the pandemic. Practices faced unpredictable staffing needs due to quarantine measures and the overall uncertainty that defined the pandemic era.

The public however, seem to take this time to buy a puppy. 3.2 Million dogs were registered in the UK during lockdown as people across the country bought or adopted pets. Now 1 in 4 owners admit to impulse buying a puppy, but that’s a different blog altogether.

Simultaneously though, Brexit led to a significant loss of veterinary professionals. Changes in immigration rules and work structures forced some practitioners to reconsider their roles, leading to a shortage in the veterinary workforce. This triple impact created a perfect storm, catapulting the locum sector into a position of unprecedented importance.

Flexibility as the Driving Force:

Amidst the chaos, flexibility emerged as a critical factor driving professionals toward locum work. Over the last few years the veterinary locum sector has experienced a significant boom, creating both excitement and apprehension.

With the traditional veterinary landscape facing uncertainty and practices grappling with fluctuating demands, locuming has become a flexible and adaptive solution. Professionals seek the autonomy to navigate their careers, choosing locum work to accommodate personal circumstances, work-life balance, and career goals.

With more professionals opting for locum work, it’s no surprise that the market has become more competitive.

However, rather than viewing this as a hurdle, there’s an opportunity for locums to redefine their role and impact positively on the industry.

The increased competition has forced locums to up their game. It’s no longer sufficient to simply fill a shift; now, standing out is essential. This shift towards a more competitive market encourages locums to build their personal brand, showcasing not just their skills and availability but also their ability to seamlessly integrate into diverse teams.

One of the key advantages of a saturated locum market is the push for more regulation and structure. For far too long, locums have operated with a lack of oversight. Now, with the market demanding professionalism, locums are prompted to demonstrate their regulatory compliance and commitment to maintaining industry standards.

Platforms like MFL is responding to the changing needs of the veterinary community by providing a space for locums to create comprehensive profiles. These profiles go beyond traditional CVs, incorporating bios, profile pictures, RCVS numbers, skills, and personality traits. The platform offers tools for managing schedules, tracking shifts, and setting preferences, streamlining the often complex process of juggling multiple assignments.This evolution enables locums not only to find available shifts but also to align with practices that match their skills and seamlessly integrate into the unique culture and team dynamics of each workplace.

MFL is fast emerging as a trans-formative solution, encompassing community-building, organisational tools, and a rich resource hub. As locums seek more than just shifts and practices seek more than ‘just a locum’, MFL provides a comprehensive platform that understands and addresses the multifaceted needs of veterinary professionals and practices in their quest for fulfilling and successful locum experiences.

Conclusion

Far from being a threat, the saturated locum market could be the catalyst for positive change. Locums now have the chance to shine, stepping into roles as indispensable team members and revenue builders.

The stories we’re likely to hear in the coming years might just redefine the narrative around locum veterinary professionals.

So 2024 and beyond will remain a challenging environment to recruit in. But practices have shown that they are willing to adapt and try new approaches. The locum veterinary market is undoubtedly more competitive. However, rather than seeing this as a drawback, locums can embrace the challenge, leveraging it as an opportunity to redefine their role, enhance professionalism, and contribute positively to the veterinary community. With the right mindset and tools, locums can navigate the saturated market and continue to be vital contributors to the veterinary field.