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Carving out your career

Seeking a new challenge or job role? OT  discusses job prospects and when to make a career move

woman with telescope
Getty/Rudzhan Nagiev

Economic growth and employment opportunities have been somewhat turbulent over the past 18 months in many industries, but recent figures show a rise in UK job vacancies.

As a university graduate of 2009, during the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession, I’m all too familiar with living during a time of employment uncertainty.

During this time, myself and my peers would spend hours scrolling through job adverts applying for countless jobs only to be met with many rejections. Employers who did find time to reply did so apologetically, commenting how they were inundated with applications, with many receiving more than 300 applicants per job.

Alongside the saturated job market, reading the daily headlines reporting 2009 as the worst year to graduate university for decades, I have to admit it wasn’t the most encouraging period to start my career. However, on reflection not only did this instil resilience and perseverance, it also taught me early on that after a downturn there’s always a bounce back. A good lesson, I think, to learn early on in my career.

Reading the news on job prospects this month I was interested to see statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reported by BBC News, that job vacancies are at a record high, rising to 1.1 million in the three months to September 2021.

The ONS statistics also revealed the health sector to have the highest number of vacancies, with 172k during July to September 2021. It’s yet to be seen whether the rise in vacancies will be a positive or negative for healthcare and more specifically the NHS.

The big picture aside, in my experience, it’s also important to remain optimistic and hopeful about your own goals and vision for your career.

Since the start of the pandemic, OT has spoken to a range of eye care professionals who have started new businesses, opened practices, changed job roles, or developed new products.

For AOP members looking for a new position or seeking a new challenge in a different area of optics, OT’s website has a dedicated jobs section listing a range of vacancies. From part time to full time, vacancies available include roles for optical assistants, dispensing opticians, pre-regs, and optometrist roles in multiples and independents. Visit OT’s jobs page here.

If this sparks an interest or if you’re currently on the job hunt, it’s worth considering signing up to have OT’s job alerts delivered directly to your inbox.

AOP members looking to fill vacancies can also make the most of OT’s job page by listing adverts for free for a limited period until January 2022.

If you’re an optometry student, pre-reg or recent graduate, there’s no denying it’s been a challenging time when considering career prospects.

So perhaps it’s time to think outside the box and discover new opportunities available that could help boost your employment prospects.

This week the AOP opened applications to undergraduate students interested in becoming AOP student representatives in 2022. 

University representatives play a key role in shaping services for students, helping the AOP to deliver student initiatives and contributing to student-focused communications. A selection of the students interviewed for OT’s special report on the COVID-Generation were past or present AOP student representatives, so there’s ample opportunity to get involved with and work closely with the OT team.

Applying for a new job, making a career change, graduating or studying during an uncertain economic period might sound ill advisable, but if there is passion, drive or ambition to achieve something it might be worth considering.

OT  asks... Before reading this blog were you aware OT listed job vacancies?
  • Yes, I have used this to find jobs in the past

    9 39%
  • Yes, I would use it in the future when looking for a new job

    8 34%
  • No, but I would use it in the future when looking for a new job

    6 26%
  • No, not interested

    0 0%


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