Mars Veterinary Health North America, part of family-owned company Mars, Incorporated, this week announced a $500 million multi-year commitment to create career advancement opportunities, increase workforce diversity, and offer differentiated pay and benefits by 2025. As the nation’s largest provider of veterinary care, Mars Veterinary Health is committed to advancing the profession for the health and wellbeing of people, pets, and the planet.
Mars Veterinary Health is a family of more than 2,000 premier veterinary healthcare and diagnostic providers nationwide, including Banfield Pet Hospital, BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Hospitals, VCA Animal Hospitals and Antech Diagnostics in the United States. An employer of more than 55,000 Associates in the U.S. alone, Mars Veterinary Health North America is setting the industry standard for competitive and differentiated rewards and development designed to support Associate health & wellbeing, advance career growth, and promote workforce diversity.
“At Mars Veterinary Health, we recognize that to make A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS™, we need to make a better world for the people who care for them,” said Doug Drew, President of Mars Veterinary Health North America. “Recognizing the evolving needs of the veterinary profession and after considering feedback from more than 10,000 Associates, we are investing in programs that further enhance their health and wellbeing. While there is more work to do, we’re optimistic about the meaningful impact these changes will have in our Associates’ lives and look forward to collaborating with the veterinary profession for the health and wellbeing of people, pets, and the planet.”
Key aspects of the investment and commitments by 2025 include:
- Increased wages and benefits, including more than 10,000 Associates in the U.S. benefitting from a $15/hour wage floor that will be fully in place by the end of 2022, as well as paid parental leave, disability, and pension for full-time Associates
- Educational and career pathways to strengthen veterinary professionals’ careers, for example partnerships with InStride, Penn Foster and Appalachian State University
- Continued COVID-19 support for Associates, including additional pay and benefits, along with testing and treatment
- Student debt relief such as financial counseling, refinancing, and select lump sum and stipend support, given veterinarians are estimated to graduate with an average of $150,000 in student loans, while some carry debt loads over $400,0001
- Equity, Inclusion & Diversity (EI&D) initiatives, such as the Diversify Veterinary Medicine Coalition, inclusion training and mentorship programs, and a partnership with Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine, in addition to 100% gender-balanced senior teams
“As a veterinarian who is deeply invested in advancing the profession – and addressing key challenges such as diversity, mental health and wellbeing, and veterinary professional shortages it is facing – we hope these commitments give Associates the support and peace of mind they need to advance their careers and provide high-quality care to pets,” said Dr. Jennifer Welser, Chief Medical Officer, Mars Veterinary Health. But more than that, we hope our actions communicate to veterinary professionals, and especially our Associates, that their voices are heard and valued as we continue to invest in programs and initiatives that are intended to directly impact their lives for the better.”
These investments are part of a multi-year roadmap that aim to create thriving careers, workforce diversity, and sustainable change within the veterinary profession.