GOC launches 2024 Workforce and Perceptions Survey

Registrants who complete the survey will be entered into a draw to win a £250 gift card, the GOC said

Cropped shot of a woman using a digital tablet at her desk
Getty/katleho Seisa

The General Optical Council (GOC) launched its 2024 Workforce and Perceptions Survey yesterday (19 March).

The regulator hopes the anonymous survey will provide insight into the job satisfaction, working conditions and future plans of registrants.

Views of the GOC in general will also be gathered.

Almost 4000 GOC registrants responded to the 2023 survey, which revealed that 62% of respondents were satisfied with their role and that 40% planned to gain additional qualifications or skills over the proceeding 12–24 months.

It also revealed that 41% had experienced harassment, bullying, or abuse from patients or service users in the previous year.

The findings led to a joint statement, signed by sector bodies including the Association of British Dispensing Opticians, the Local Optical Committee Support Unit and Optical Consumer Complaints Service, that committed to a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Steve Brooker, director of regulatory strategy at the GOC, said: “Last year’s survey provided us with important insights about registrants’ experiences, particularly in relation to bullying, harassment, abuse and discrimination.

“We are keen to learn if there has been a change in registrants' views and experiences over the last year so we can better understand how they feel about their job and career.”

The GOC added that findings from this year’s survey will help inform its policy, and will assist other optical organisations and government departments to identify trends in the eye care workforce across the UK.

The regulator emphasised that it wants to hear from students as well as fully qualified registrants, in order to “ensure the report is an accurate representation of optometrists’ and dispensing opticians’ views and experiences across the UK.”

The AOP is encouraging members to take part. Policy and governance manager, Paul Alexander, noted that it is an opportunity to “influence your own professional lives.”

“Never has the timing of airing your views on your working life been so important,” Alexander said. “The imminent review of the Opticians Act, a looming general election, and the momentum around optometrists being recognised as the solution to the eye care backlog in secondary care, all conspire to make this survey vital for helping to shape the future of optometry.”

He added: “The AOP encourages as many registrants as possible to respond – the more data that can be gathered, the clearer the picture and the greater the impact.”

Alexander continued: “As the GOC will share the intelligence and insight gathered, your responses will also help us to better understand your needs and where we need to fight for change.”

The Workforce and Perceptions Survey 2024 should take around 12 minutes to complete, and entrants will be entered into a prize draw to win a £250 online gift card. It will close on 22 April.

Registrants can take the survey online.