Vacancies for optometrists are the hardest in the UK to fill, with more than two thirds of postings remaining vacant for at least 60 days, according to new data from job site Indeed.

Optometrists topped the list (68.79%) of vacancies that remained unfilled on the Indeed job site for more than 60 days, ahead of solicitors (51.4%), surgeons (46.32%) and software engineers (41.8%). The role also attracted the highest average salary at £50,000, second only to software architects at £70,000.

Reacting to the findings, Luke Elias, managing director of specialist recruitment firm Vivid Optical, said: ‘I must say that I am not surprised - optometrists are few and far between. Some of the vacancies we are working on have been open for over five years and there are even some towns in the UK with six or seven optometrist positions available.’

Alan Gregg, head of Specsavers recruitment services, added: ‘The Indeed report is certainly interesting and in part does reflect how hard it can be to fill an optometrist role. It's worth pointing out that recruitment challenges are not a new thing and the picture is not necessarily the same for all regions.

‘In some areas, it does take time to employ the right person but for example university cities like Plymouth, London and Birmingham have a healthy supply of graduates coming into the industry. In the last 18 months Specsavers has run initiatives to both attract and retain employees - with improved benefits packages, enhanced professional development and national 'Platinum Employer' and career advancement programmes.’