The Vision Council released the 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey Report. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the custom survey The Vision Council fielded to the vision care community in November 2020. The confidential survey, developed in partnership with Nonprofit HR was designed to benchmark the vision care leadership landscape in order to help organizations within the industry identify opportunities they have to promote diversity, cultivate talent and improve their performance.
The survey was open to all members of the vision care products and services industry and was fielded from November 9–24, 2020. The survey received 1,527 usable responses, all U.S.-based. The comprehensive report is available to download here.
“As we look to the future of The Vision Council and our industry, fostering a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community is paramount to our mission of creating more opportunities for community-building and encouraging industry growth,” said Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council. The Vision Council’s main goals in commissioning the survey included: to assess diversity, inclusion, and career perceptions within the optical industry; to understand if certain populations were experiencing the industry differently; and to obtain feedback on how The Vision Council and other network organizations can provide support in this area.
Key Survey Insights
Highlights and key insights from the survey responses across industry segments are included below:
Suppliers and Manufacturers
• Responses from members of the salesforce within the suppliers and manufacturers segment regarding inclusion were higher compared to responses from other parts of the organization within this industry segment. For example, 64 percent of respondents within the suppliers and manufacturers segment who identified as members of the salesforce feel that promotion decisions are fairly and equitably determined compared to 56 percent of all respondents within this segment.
• Senior leaders who responded within the suppliers and manufacturers segment deem helping their organizations to become more diverse and inclusive a high priority. 92 percent deem it their responsibility to help their organization become more diverse, inclusive and equitable.
• Student respondents had one of the highest scores in feeling the need for a focus on DEI across all segments. 89 percent of students responding in the academia segment indicated they believe it is important to focus on improving DEI.
• When asked how they viewed their opportunities for advancements, there were differences in opinions among respondents from different demographic groups within the academia segment. 75 percent of those respondents within the academia segment who identify as white feel they have the ability to advance their career in this industry, compared to 58 percent of those respondents within the academia segment who identify as people of color.
Independent Eyecare and Retail
• There are discrepancies when comparing the responses of owners within the independent eyecare and retail segment to the responses of staff within this segment. Owners seem to perceive they are providing a more inclusive culture than what their staff feels. A need for more open-ended dialogue is apparent in this segment.
• 88 percent of owners feel that their organization’s Board, management team or senior leadership demonstrates commitment to DEI, but less than 75 percent of staff feel that management has this commitment. Of note, among those who identified as having a disability within this industry segment, only 61 percent felt this commitment from their leadership.
Corporate Eyecare and Retail
• A more diverse group of people responded to the survey in the corporate eyecare and retail segment compared to the demographics of the people who responded within the independent eyecare and retail segment.
• However, the corporate eyecare and retail respondents provided some of the lowest scores to key questions regarding equity and inclusion compared to other segments. For example, 46 percent of respondents in this segment feel that their ideas are strongly considered in the decision-making process at their organization compared to 64 percent of all survey respondents who feel their ideas are strongly considered.
Industry Groups (includes buying groups, trade media, non-profit organizations)
• Overall, respondents in the industry groups segment reported a higher feeling of belonging than respondents in other segments. 81 percent of respondents in the industry groups segment said they feel comfortable bringing their authentic ‘whole self’ to their places of work.
• Questions around rewards, recognition, and advancements showed discrepancies among different demographics within the industry groups segment. For example, 73 percent of men in this segment felt that recognition for performance is fairly and equitably distributed among their colleagues, compared to 49 percent of women in this segment.
The Vision Council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force is using the survey results to prioritize key areas for change; identify potential policy and culture shift; set impact measurements; and identify additional resources for the industry. The Task Force’s next steps and recommendations will be shared in the coming months.
An analysis of the 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion survey was presented by The Vision Council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force following their review of the survey results at The Vision Council’s 2021 Virtual Executive Summit, which took place virtually January 26–28, 2021. The presentation is available to view through the Executive Summit’s On-Demand platform, available now until April 28, 2021.