GOC finds increase in job satisfaction

The Registrant Workforce and Perceptions Survey 2022 found 62% of respondents were satisfied in their role, but challenges remain in working conditions

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Pexels/Ksenia Chernaya

The General Optical Council (GOC) has published the findings of its Registrant Workforce and Perceptions Survey 2022, identifying that though job satisfaction is stable, “there remain challenges for the sector to tackle.”

The survey of 4102 optometrists, dispensing opticians, and optical students across the UK aims to provide insight into the job satisfaction and career plans of the optical workforce.

The GOC added new questions to the survey this year, working in partnership with sector bodies.

The results suggested a slight increase in job satisfaction compared to last year’s survey, with 62% of respondents reporting being satisfied in the role, compared to 58% in 2021.

Despite this, the GOC noted “significant variations” depending on the role, employer and region.

Job satisfaction was higher amongst those involved in extended services, working in a hospital, domiciliary care, or education and academia, as well as those who worked in Wales.

Dissatisfaction was higher amongst optometrists and locums, those who worked for a multiple, and registrants living with a disability.

Reasons for dissatisfaction centred around working conditions, such as increasing workloads and stress.

Over half of respondents (57%) reported working beyond their hours in the last 12 months – a jump from 40% last year, while 41% reported feeling unable to cope with their workload.

This included higher proportions of optometrists working for multiples, in a hospital, in education or academia, and those working full-time.

Of the survey respondents, 31% reported finding it difficult to provide patients with the level of care they need.

Of those surveyed, 9% had taken a leave of absence due to stress, compared to 6% in 2021.

Commenting on the findings, Steve Brooker, director of regulatory strategy at the GOC, said: “The GOC’s registrant survey provides a unique snapshot of the views and perceptions of the optical workforce.”

“While it is encouraging to see job satisfaction improving since last year, clearly there remain challenges for the sector to tackle, with significant minorities of respondents finding it difficult to cope with workloads and provide patients with a sufficient level of care,” he added.

Asked about plans for the future over the next 12 to 24 months, four in ten respondents aspired to gain additional qualifications or skills (40%).

Reasons provided for this focused around “delivering better care, helping more patients, expanding scope of practice, and delivering more services,” the GOC shared, as well as career progression and increasing opportunities.

Brooker commented: “We are pleased to see that four in ten registrants plan to develop new skills and gain further qualifications, suggesting the profession is keen to play a key role in serving a wider range of eye health needs.”

The report also revealed that 27% of respondents planned to reduce their hours, and 15% planned to leave the profession (a decrease from 2021 of 36% and 26% respectively).

In addition, 10% of respondents said they planned to retire, 8% intended on switching to locum work, and 6% planned to take a career break.