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2021 registrant survey: The future of the optical workforce in the UK

2021 registrant survey: The future of the optical workforce in the UK

The GOC in October 2021 commissioned further work to analyse the findings relating to the future of the optical workforce.
The report presents detailed analysis of two questions:  
  • Thinking about the last 12 months, to what extent are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your role/job?
  • Have you considered making any of the following changes to your career over the next 12-24 months (e.g. gain additional qualifications/skills, switch to locum work, leave the profession)?

    The additional analysis provides interesting and useful insight and the numbers have been scaled up to offer an approximation of the number of registrants who may have answered in a particular way, which allows us to better understand what the optical workforce in the UK may look like in the future. We also believe it will be useful for optical sector bodies for purposes such as workforce planning.

Most registrants (58% / approx. 17,000) said they were satisfied in their current role however there is a considerable proportion who are dissatisfied, which appears to be driving them towards future plans including leaving the profession, reducing their hours, taking a career break, or switching to locum work.
The subgroup analysis of these results has highlighted which areas of the registrant population may be more or less likely to be satisfied and to plan for certain actions in the future.
The GOC plan is to ask these questions in future registrant surveys (scheduled for 2022 and 2023) to track any changes in opinion and behaviour over time. We will also consider whether it would be useful to ask additional follow up questions related to workforce planning. The online survey was conducted by Enventure Research, an independent research company
Here are some of the results and you can read the whole paper here
Job satisfaction
• 58% (approximately 17,000 registrants) said they were satisfied with their role or job over the
last 12 months
• 20% (approximately 5,900 registrants) were dissatisfied
• 22% (approximately 6,500 registrants) were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
The following subgroups were more likely to answer that they were satisfied with their role or
job over the last 12 months:
o Dispensing opticians and student dispensing opticians
o Those who worked for an independent optician, in a hospital, or in education/academia
o Those who were involved in the delivery of enhanced eye care services
o Those who worked full-time
The following subgroups were more likely to answer that they were dissatisfied with their role
or job over the last 12 months:
o Optometrists
o Those who worked for a multiple optician or in domiciliary care
o Those who worked as locums
o Those who worked in London
Plans to gain additional qualifications
• 43% (approximately 12,600 registrants) said they plan to gain additional qualifications/skills
over the next 12-24 months
The following subgroups were more likely to plan to gain additional qualifications/skills over the
next 12-24 months:
o Optometrists, student optometrists, and student dispensing opticians
o Those who worked for a multiple optician, in a hospital, or in education/academia
o Those who were involved in the delivery of enhanced eye care services
o Those who worked full-time
o Female registrants
o Those aged 18-34 and 35-54
o Those who were satisfied with their role/job
Plans to reduce hours
• 36% (approximately 10,600 registrants) said they plan to reduce their hours over the next 12-
24 months
• The following subgroups were more likely to plan to reduce their hours:
o Optometrists
o Those who were involved in the delivery of enhanced eye care services
o Those who worked full-time or as locums
o Those aged 55+
o Those who were dissatisfied with their role/job
Plans to leave the profession
• 26% (approximately 7,600 registrants) said they plan to leave the profession over the next 12-
24 months
• The following subgroups were more likely to plan to leave the profession:
o Dispensing opticians
o Those who worked in domiciliary care
o Those who worked as locums, or who were not currently working
o Those who worked in London
o Those aged 35-54
o Those who were dissatisfied with their role/job
Plans to retire
• 13% (approximately 3,800 registrants) said they plan to retire over the next 12-24 months
The following subgroups were more likely to plan to retire:
o Those who worked for an independent optician
o Those who worked part-time
o Male registrants
o Those aged 55+
Plans to switch to locum work
• 12% (approximately 3,500 registrants) said they plan to switch to locum work over the next 12-
24 months
The following subgroups were more likely to plan to switch to locum:
o Those who worked for a multiple optician
o Those who were currently not working
o Those who worked in London
o Those aged 18-34
o Those who were dissatisfied with their role/job
Plans to take a career break
• 11% (approximately 3,200 registrants) said they plan to take a career break over the next 12-
24 months
The following subgroups were more likely to plan to take a career break:
o Those who worked for a multiple optician
o Those who were currently not working
o Those who worked in London
o Those aged 18-34
o Those who were dissatisfied with their role/job
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