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Referencing growing concerns over the recruitment and retention of faculty in academic veterinary medicine, the authors hypothesized that among surveyed veterinary residents and early-career faculty, work-life balance and workplace climate and culture are stronger motivators than financial considerations, regardless of demographic factors such as gender, race/ethnicity, and area of specialization.


541 participants were included in data analysis.


A mixed methods approach was utilized, incorporating both quantitative data and qualitative, free-text responses to better understand veterinary career choices by contextualizing factors associated with academic medicine.


Factors underpinning career-related decision-making were ranked by level of importance as (1) workplace environment/culture, (2) personal well-being/work-life balance, (3) salary and bonuses, (4) geographic location, (5) facilities and resources, (6) benefits, and (7) schedule flexibility. Desires for workload balance, schedule flexibility, support from leadership, and mentorship and collaboration were among the top themes of qualitative responses for both residents and early career faculty respondents. Factors influencing career decision-making for resident and early-career faculty are varied. Workplace environment, work-life balance, and schedule flexibility are areas that academic institutions can address and continue to improve and that are likely to positively impact entry into academia and the desire to stay.


This study sought to understand factors related to career decision-making and interest in academic veterinary medicine among residents and early-career faculty. Understanding these factors can support efforts to recruit and retain faculty in academic veterinary medicine.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research