As part of his PhD study on the Social Care sector, John Barratt is keeping up to date with Social Care in the news. He will be providing commentary on what these issues mean for the sector and how they are relevant to the study.

Read the full story here.

“This article highlights the imperative need to start tackling the problems that the social care sector is facing. A 1.6 million increase in over 75s by 2022 means now is the time to act before it is too late. This increase in the elderly has the knock on effect of causing a heightened need in the number of care workers required. As shown in the article, Skills for Care projects the number required to be 1 million more by 2025. Without this increase the sector will fall apart. The article also highlights the increase in the number of under 14 year olds. This demonstrates how the stretch on the social care sector is set to continue.

The apprenticeship figures discussed are highly promising. Especially showing that social care has overtaken business in the number of apprentices. In the article the sector figures are quoted as 70,000 apprenticeships in social care in 2013/14, up 292% since 2009/10. This is highly encouraging, and is one way of promoting social care as a career to school leavers. An age group widely cited as being under represented in the sector. This is a hugely exciting time in social care, with the promotion and diversification of a workforce to meet both the demand and needs of service-users.

A hugely important aspect is highlighted in this article that must not be overlooked. There are 30 different apprenticeships available at 3 different entry levels. Furthermore there are 27 different job roles within social care (according to Skills for Care). This is a diverse sector with something to offer in the way of a career to most people. Therefore it needs pushing and showing as an option from an early age, to ensure it is considered a realistic possibility, not just an after thought.

One resounding problem in care recruitment, is how can we ensure the right quality candidates are becoming care workers? And how can we make sure the performance of those selected is consistently high? Moreover, how do we know they won’t just leave the sector within weeks of being trained? This is where the PhD project discussed within these blogs directly addresses and makes positive strides towards overcoming these hurdles.”

You can read more on the PhD study and how it will impact the sector here.

Written by John Barratt, PhD student at Aston University

Recruiting care and support workers is a struggle which is felt across the entire Social Care sector. This has been a hot topic amongst those working in the industry and a key point brought up at the Social Care Roundtable earlier this year.

And why wouldn’t it be? The sector is struggling to grow and reach new demographics, as well as facing a notorious skills shortage. Those recruiting in the sector need to be pro-active and seek new and innovative ways of reaching the right people.

It’s key to remember that the initial stage of the recruitment process is about reaching the right audience. Who are the right people and where will you find them? For example, 82% of the Care sector workforce is made up of women and 97% of Pinterest users are also women- so why not use Pinterest to reach out to potential applicants?

Engaging with candidates face to face is another invaluable way of telling them about you and your business. There’s real opportunity here to win them over and start receiving applications. Talking one on one with the public not only increases brand awareness but also creates leads and, ultimately, means a higher number of applications. And don’t forget, not all potential applicants know where to look or even have access to the internet.

Male care assistant reading senior woman bookHave you tried canvassing local shopping centres? Our recruitment specialists have found this to be particularly successful. By contacting your chosen establishment and finding which days are the busiest for footfall, you have the potential to reach a much wider audience. Promotional signs, banners and flyers are usually very successful, with flyers being a great way of getting information out quickly.

Once set up, don’t expect candidates to approach you and fill in an application form- be pro-active! Approach your audience and be ready to either hand out a hard copy of your application form or direct them to your jobsite.

Making a note of everyone who shows an interest is important as you will need to ensure that you engage with potential candidates after the event- this contact is just as important as the initial conversation you had with them. Some individuals may need further support or prompting to apply.

This really is a great way to engage with a whole new audience. Many Social Care businesses are already working with schools, colleges and even more closely with the job centre to reach and engage with new demographics and placing yourself in the midst of the general public can yield great results.

Have a look at our ebook on Future Proofing Social Care to see how we are trying to help the sector combat their recruitment challenges.


Here at Cohesion, we care about making the difference, not just to our clients, but to the industries they work within.

This is the second in a series of blogs about the PhD student we are sponsoring to carry out cutting edge research on Recruitment and Selection in the Social Care sector:

“This study has been a real eye opener and an amazing opportunity to really make a difference to the Social Care sector. It would be difficult to ram everything I’ve done so far in to one blog, but I’ll give it a good go!

I have been involved in some exciting discussions with both academic lecturers as well as other PhD students from related disciplines. This has helped provide an external viewpoint on the challenge ahead and has provided further areas to read into in a bid to be more thorough in the groundwork to build from.

The biggest chunk of work I have undertaken so far is a very in-depth literature review to ascertain the current status of the field and get an understanding of what has previously been researched. This has helped me get to know the sector as a whole, and to identify how under researched the area really is.

This has been hugely insightful as there is a real need to look beyond the social care literatures and to broaden scope to encompass allied fields such as medical and nursing orientated research. The reason for this is that, although the professional literature is rich with information and guidance such as Skills for Care and the Kings Fund research; the academic based literature is sparse and there is a real lack of research.

Furthermore, the research that does exist is often orientated largely towards elderly social care and thus neglects the other niche facets. The reason why it is appropriate to broaden scope to allied fields is because these fields contain elements common to Social Care, such as the need for compassion and empathy in its workers (a large part of this really does come down to the people). Moreover, it provides elements to incorporate in the research going forward to look to see if these aspects can be fruitful in the Social Care sector.

This has also provided a large array of variables that are potentially worth examining. These range from competency dimensions, to personality traits, to attributes and skills. Additionally I have been able to read and research the emerging technique of values-based recruitment, which is being touted and pushed as the way forward in Health and Social Care industries (read more about values-based recruitment and how it could work for you and your business in this free ebook.) Beyond this, a fundamental aspect has been to get to grips with what the contingencies to recruitment are within the social care sector.

More specifically, what aspects are causing recruitment to be difficult, what aspects impact turnover, the applicant pool, and what may attract workers to the sector? This has been a hugely fruitful search.

The latest aspect of my work (which is an ongoing colossal task) is the development and refining of the model that will be examined going forward. This has required careful theorising and decisions on what the key aspects are. This, going forward, will hopefully be discussed within a focus group with Cohesion and key stakeholders. This will allow me to get an industry viewpoint on the model and the key outcomes that they see as essential.

So far, this review has allowed me to look at the state of the field, the gaps in the literature, and given me ideas on how to address these issues.

Basically, this is the road map that sets out where we are going and, more importantly, how we are going to get there! As well as what the outcome will be from this project.

This is a hugely exciting and innovative study, nothing of this sort has ever been done before and I am hopeful that the impact on the sector will be great.”

During our next catch up, we will be finding out what John has done so far and what he’s learnt about Social Care as a sector and recruitment as a practice.

For more exciting updates from John, click here.

In the meantime, why not take a look at some of our free Social Care ebooks which further explore the skills shortage, the future of the sector and values-based recruitment.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates on Changing Social Care!



Co-written by John Barratt, PhD student at Aston University


Here at Cohesion, we are hugely passionate about the Social Care sector. Not only do we partner with clients in the industry to recruit the right people, but we actively seek new ways to positively impact the industry as a whole.

We are very excited to have partnered with an elite University, Aston Business School, and have funded a PhD student to carry out an insightful study that could change the face of recruitment in the sector.  We launched this at a roundtable event in January.

This is the first in a series of blogs, written by John Barratt, who is carrying out the study, that will tell the story of this exciting research and what it means for the sector:

“The UK care sector is rapidly growing and finds itself in a position of requiring a million new workers by 2025. Couple this with the fact that it is becoming increasingly scrutinised in terms of the effectiveness and conduct of care workers and this is an important area to consider.

These two problems have led to businesses and organisations in the sector being faced with the dual challenge of fast paced recruitment to meet business growth needs and turnover, alongside continual demand to improve quality of recruitment and selection.
To date there exists no specific study of effective recruitment and selection practice in the UK care sector. It is therefore timely to initiate such a research study, which will:

• Add research data to the recruitment, selection and assessment literatures from this important area of practice, and
• Result in specific and high-impact recommendations for practice of recruitment and selection in the sector.
The above creates four main aims for the present research going forward:

1) Carry out an extensive literature review of the social care sector literatures; this entails both the academic and professional literatures. This will help develop an understanding of what is currently known about the sector and what the gaps that need addressing are

2) Empirical Study 1: Modeling and Measuring Carer Effectiveness

The first study will seek to establish performance criteria and methods of measurement for carers (given the absence of a performance taxonomy or instrument currently).
The study will follow steps in scale design to develop and test a set of rating items that can be used by managers, supervisors and others to rate the performance of carers. This will consequently create a tool to quantify effective performance of care workers. The resulting tool can then be used as an outcome measure when looking to identify what aspects, characteristics, competencies, etc. of an individual lead to effective performance.

3) Empirical Study 2: Understanding Reasons for Turnover and Tenure among Carers

A qualitative study will be undertaken to understand the reasons that people stay or leave jobs as carers. It is important that recruitment and selection in the care sector seeks to balance achievement of two success outcomes: quality and performance on one hand, and tenure/stability on the other. By understanding some of the contributing factors to tenure versus turnover in the sector, recruitment and selection strategies can be developed around these criteria, so that employers can mitigate against the potential costs of frequent turnover.
This aim will look to identify these factors through interviews with employees (mixture of leavers and long-tenure).

4) Empirical Study 3: A Longitudinal Study of Recruitment and Selection Effectiveness

The main study in this doctoral research will be an 18-month longitudinal study of the effectiveness of different recruitment and selection techniques.

The study will look to be undertaken across multiple care providers, using data compiled from carers recruited during the study period. Various methods will be used and different types of data obtained. The main aims and outcomes that will be identified through this research study are:

• The techniques of recruitment and selection that work most effectively in different organisations.
• The effectiveness (validity) of recruitment and selection methodology for predicting different outcome criteria.
• Changes in the validities of different techniques for predicting criteria over time.”

During our next catch up, we will be finding out what John has done so far and why it’s important.

For more exciting updates from John and Changing Social Care, click here.

In the meantime, why not take a look at some of our free Social Care ebooks which further explore the skills shortage, the future of the sector and values-based recruitment.


Co-written by John Barratt, PhD student at Aston University




On Thursday 12th March Cohesion attended the Skills for Care National Conference and Accolades. Passionate about the progression of the sector, Cohesion exhibited at the conference, sponsored the accolades and presented the award for best recruitment initiative.

skills for care photo s4c pic.png

Here’s what one of our social care specialists, Tanzina Begum, had to say about the event:

The Skills for Care annual conference– what an experience and what a turn out! As exhibitors ourselves, we knew it was going to be a busy day and we were ready to get stuck in to what promised to be an exciting and insightful event.

Download our e-book on running a great social care recruitment campaign

Having met with a number of social care organisations earlier in the year at Cohesion’s round table event, we were looking forward to meeting acquaintances- old and new, and learning more about the sector. The conference looked great and was packed with delegates- each one clearly passionate about Social Care.

It was great to have the opportunity to exhibit at the event and showcase how we are supporting the growth and future success of the sector. As a business we are an active contributor to the industry and we love to share our knowledge of recruitment best practice!

skills for care 2 photo s4c4.png

The event also boasted some great guest speakers- the team and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in! Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support gave an inspirational account of the pressures on the sector. He said “we need to motivate, respect, value, properly train and fairly reward the workforce.”

Cohesion is always promoting a better and fairer environment for workers and we understand the importance of celebrating the great achievements and successes of those in the industry- it was great to hear these thoughts echoed by an MP.

We also heard from a panel asking the question “Is Social Care well-led?” a timely and interesting question when considering the future of the sector. This was an eye-opening and positive discussion- anyone in the sector is all too aware of the challenges ahead and it is appropriate to consider the benefits of a knowledgeable and well-led workforce.

The workshops we attended were great and have inspired us to look into organising our own events in order to promote the progression of Social Care and share our thoughts with others in the sector. Our expertise lies in recruitment and retention and it was great to engage in conversation with like-minded individuals who are keen to put a greater focus on reaching, engaging and retaining the right people.

In the final stages of the conference, many of us were asking the question- “with the general election around the corner, are the priorities within Social Care going to change?” This is something that seems to be on everyone’s mind- an interesting and poignant point for everyone to consider.

 photo s4c5.png

As the conference came to an end we were extremely excited for the accolades to begin and for our Director of Social Care, Mandy Glover to present the award for ‘Best Recruitment Initiative.’ Mandy said “This was a very humbling and insightful event- one which was enjoyed by everyone at Cohesion. I was honoured to present Leeds City Council with an award that was greatly deserved.”

As a proud sponsor of the Skills for Care accolades, this was an amazing experience and gave some great insight to the changes and challenges within Social Care. Cohesion is definitely ready to help the sector overcome its challenges, make a name for itself and celebrate its successes.

Are you considering recruiting people for your business? Click here to see what Cohesion can do for you. 

social care recruitment

What’s the Social Care story?

“Immediacy of recruitment needs mean you just get someone in with the right skill set- values go out the window”

Across the sector, turnover is high. A number of organisations will settle for low quality workers because they need to fill shifts, they will run the risk of not being compliant and that is causing poor quality. Employers appreciate toolkits and the information and support given to promote growth and change within their businesses, but many also argue that it’s not enough.

Download our e-book on how to run the best social care recruitment campaign ever!

It’s ridiculous to talk about retention without talking about recruitment first. You have to consider elements of the recruitment process, whether that be workforce planning, incentives packages, or even the quality of your managers- these all have an impact on retention. Recruiting the right staff results in lower turnover, but you have to get the recruitment part right- engage with candidates and employees as often as possible. If you can hold on to employers through that initial process you tend to have them for quite a few years. What it often comes down to is that workers don’t necessarily leave the care sector of the work- they leave within the first six weeks because what they are doing wasn’t explained earlier.

When recruiting, talk about career pathways as opposed to a lack of career opportunities. If you go out to the public and ask what social care is about, they have a skewed view. There are around 27 job roles and that includes managerial roles, directors, IT, cooks, chefs, gardeners, drivers… this is not understood by the general public. We need to go out and promote the sector and tell people about the different kinds of employers and roles.” Annette Baines, Skills for Care

For more information on turnover and other issues faced by the sector, read our ebook on the Roundtable held at Aston Univeristy by clicking here or visit us at the Skills for Care national conference and accolades where we will be exhibiting and presenting the award for best recruitment initiative.

Are you thinking about recruiting for your business? Click here to find out what Cohesion can do for you.