The veterinary professional shortage is a challenge, not only for veterinary hospitals but also veterinary teams everywhere. While employers look at how they can inspire new veterinary professionals to enter the field, some are also making changes to make the profession more sustainable for those already in it – many of whom are acutely feeling the many impacts of the shortage.
As a large veterinary employer in the U.S., employing over 7,000 professionals nationwide, BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital has set out to simultaneously address the multiple causes of job departure for its Associates, not only focusing on ways to improve Associates’ well-being at work, but overall livelihoods. Last year, BluePearl announced its multi-year investments to create clear career pathways for its Associates. A key aspect of those investments included CareerTrax, the industry’s largest electronic career pathing platform which supports a first-of-its-kind leveling and compensation structure.
Launched in September 2021, the program prioritizes career development transparency and trackability—key features BluePearl identified in its aim to train and retain skilled Associates. In March 2022, CareerTrax expanded its scope of offerings to veterinary professionals to now include BluePearl’s Client Service Associates. Over 900 Associates in the Client Service job sector are currently eligible to utilize CareerTrax to advance in their position and compensation level in Spring 2022.
We knew we had to approach training and career pathing in a new way – in a way the industry hasn’t seen before,” said Amy Ramirez, Director Training & Nursing Care at BluePearl. “Up until now, technician training has largely been unstructured and unorganized, mainly driven by top-down directives. With CareerTrax, we set out to change this, putting the power to grow in the Associate’s hands, building a culture of learning and training, and providing a clear roadmap for skillset development and role advancement.”
BluePearl’s CareerTrax is built on the Xapify platform and is designed as an interactive, levelling system with each verified skill building towards the next level (and corresponding pay increase). Of the 16 specialty services offered, each one has 8 distinct levels for veterinary technicians to progress through.
In 2021, BluePearl saw success in the number of Associates who “leveled up.”
- Of the ~3400 Associates eligible to level up, 18% submitted requests to level up representing 80 of BluePearl hospitals.
- Leveling participation: 497 Associates were able to successfully advance to their next level, a success rate of 87%.
- The categories in which Associates “leveled up” include:
- Avian & Exotic
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Emergency/Critical Care
- Internal Medicine