Vets in rural practices and business owners/partners were found to be the most optimistic about the future of the vet industry, a new UK survey has found.

Levels of optimism for the future outweigh feelings of pessimism with 59% of vets seeing the glass half full when it comes to thinking about the future.

However it also found that almost a quarter of vets are unsure how they feel about the future.

The Vet Futures survey was carried out by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

Male vets are significantly more likely than women vets to be fairly pessimistic about the future, it also found.

Some 59% of UK vets feel that their working life to date has matched or exceeded their expectations, the survey found.

The other 41% of vets said that they felt some disappointment in their expectations of working life.

It found that those who are disappointed are more likely to be younger vets while opportunities for career progression is the main reason given where working life has met or exceeded expectations.

Some 56% of UK vets work in a small animal or exotic practice and 8% work with farm or food producing animals, it found.

Another 12% work in a mixed practice, 5% work with equines and 19% work in other areas such as academia or industry, it found.

UK vets perceive that the public fails to recognise their contribution in key areas such as food supply and security, and public health, it says.

Many comments on the survey reflect a desire to increase awareness of the breadth of contributions vets make beyond ‘companion animal health’.

The single highest priority goal for the future for UK vets is to reduce stress, with 19% of respondents choosing it from a long list of options, it says.

BVA President John Blackwell said that it’s heartening to see that, at the moment, the veterinary glass is half full for many.

“But we know that younger vets are disproportionately represented amongst those who are feeling less positive about their own careers, which is a real concern for future generations.

“There is clearly work to be done, through Vet Futures, for the profession to think innovatively in order to tackle some of their concerns around career progression, pay and working hours, as well as stress,” he said.