Help Wanted: Deerfield Animal Care struggles to fill positions
DEERFIELD, IL – It seems like everyone is adopting a pet these days. During the coronavirus pandemic, many people have decided that owning a pet is something they can take away due to an increase in time spent at home and a desire for the precious pets of company that can provide, among other factors.
Kerry Ryan Morgan, Marketing Manager for The Pet Experts Veterinary Group, is looking for employees to meet the demand. The company operates the Deerfield Animal Care Center, as well as other facilities, across Chicagoland.
“[A shortage of employees] definitely started during the pandemic. About a year ago we were recruiting and had all kinds of candidates, ”Morgan told Patch. “I’m not really sure what happened, but I know it’s universal. Everyone seems to have the same problems. Now we can’t find anyone. “
Deerfield Animal Care Center is a full service veterinary hospital for dogs and cats. The veterinary group Pet Experts has owned it for eight years, having acquired the property from a previous owner.
Last October, after the demolition of an old building on the site of 150 Waukegan Road, a new two-story building opened. The Deerfield Animal Care Center offers the latest advances in modern veterinary medicine, including advanced diagnostic equipment and a large indoor exercise and training area. Comprehensive care – which includes boarding, training, babysitting, and grooming – are all available.
“It was very exciting [to open the new building] especially considering most of the work done during COVID, “Morgan said.” Nothing was easy, but it’s beautiful. “
In Deerfield, Dr Kaitlyn Zebold has been a Chief Medical Officer and Partner since last year after six years as an associate at one of the Pet Experts Veterinary Group’s sister clinics, Elmhurst Animal Care Center. She is joined in the veterinary team by Dr Sandra Faeh, Dr Melissa Ford and Dr James Harris.
Between vets, kennel staff, front desk, trainers, technicians and a groomer, Morgan said Deerfield Animal Care Center employs around 12 people but desperately need more. She notes that while the employee shortage is definitely making itself felt in the pet industry, it is far from isolated.
“Everywhere you look now, I feel like that’s all you see. Whether it’s on Facebook or on store windows, everyone is hiring for every position,” Morgan said. “It’s just crazy.”
Morgan said one of the main reasons businesses struggle to find employees is that the unemployed can often make more money with government grants.
She said the company has made an effort to keep the lines of communication more open between existing staff, as well as adding other incentives and benefits, to ensure their well-being and overall happiness with the job. Morgan said it’s not the first time the Pet Experts Veterinary Group has had staffing needs, but it’s never been so extreme.
“We see a lot of people calling with interest for a position. They set up an interview and never show up,” Morgan said. “You never hear why. It’s always a trap, and we never really understand it.”
Morgan said the company offers good health insurance benefits, a 401 (k) program, as well as competitive pay, to full-time employees. She also said there has been a shortage of doctors in recent years.
In addition to the financial challenges in the veterinary field, the demand for pet services is on the rise. Inquiries about pet adoptions increased by 70% between March 2020 and March 2021, according to Petfinder.com, as reported last month by CNN. An American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals survey released in May showed that 90% of dogs and 85% of cats adopted during the pandemic were kept by their owners.
“No one is nice. Everyone demands to be seen first. It’s a lot of stuff for people to deal with,” Morgan said. “It’s not improving.”
Morgan admits things are better in Deerfield than other places. She said customers there appreciate that the facility was built to avoid curbside drop-offs only, as is required in other locations, and that COVID-19 protocols have been put in place. Morgan said that with a new building, it was essential to provide in-person care to clients who have never been inside or have never met the vets.
“Deerfield is a little different from the rest of our clinics because it’s newer and there are still people who don’t know them,” Morgan said. “We can still accommodate more customers, but we absolutely want to be able to keep [hiring] more staff, so as not to exhaust the [current] Staff.”
The Deerfield Animal Care Center is hiring in all departments including reception, kennel, veterinary assistants, and groomers. For those interested, fill out a Contact Us form at deerfieldanimalcarecenter.com or send an email / CV to [email protected]