Press Release: GOC survey provides insight into changing nature of the optical workforce

General Optical Council press release, 3 August 2022

For immediate release

GOC survey provides insight into changing nature of the optical workforce

The General Optical Council (GOC) has published the findings of its Registrant Workforce and Perceptions Survey 2022. The survey provides unique insights into the changing nature of the optical workforce, which will contribute to workforce planning.

Overall, the findings suggest that the majority of respondents (62%) are satisfied in their role – a slight increase on last year’s survey results. However, despite improving job satisfaction, workplace conditions continue to be challenging for registrants with high numbers planning to either leave, retire, or reduce their working hours.

The survey also found that around 40% of respondents plan to gain additional skills and qualifications.

Key findings of the survey:

The majority of respondents (62%) are satisfied in their role (58% in 2021). However, there are significant variations depending on role, employer and region. The main reasons cited for dissatisfaction are heavy workload preventing practitioners from providing the levels of patient care they would like to, and work-related stress;

  • In the last 12 months: 57% of respondents reported working beyond their hours (a significant increase from 40% in 2021);
  • 31% reported finding it difficult to provide patients with the sufficient level of care they need (28% in 2021);
  • 27% planned to reduce their hours (a significant decrease from 36% in 2021);
  • 15% planned to leave the profession (a significant decrease from 26% in 2021);and
  • 40% of respondents planned to gain additional qualifications/skills (43% in 2021).

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. We’ve added new questions this year in partnership with sector bodies and hope the findings will assist workforce planning efforts.

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.

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 full report and an accompanying infographic can be downloaded from the GOC website:



About the survey

  • The General Optical Council Registrant Workforce and Perceptions Survey 2022 was carried out by Enventure Research between 22 March and 26 April 2022.
  • 4,102 optometrists, dispensing opticians and optical students across the UK completed a questionnaire (a response rate of 14%).
  • The full report can be downloaded from the GOC website
  • The GOC will be sharing the findings with registrants and stakeholder organisations as well as considering the feedback it has received on its own performance.

About the General Optical Council (GOC):

The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, conduct and performance amongst opticians. The Council currently registers around 30,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.

Media Enquiries:

GOC Communications Team

t: 020 7580 3898 (option 3)


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