Recruitment and selection in the UK care sector
: a longitudinal study of effectiveness in resourcing methods and practice

  • John Barratt

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The UK adult social care sector is growing constantly and finds itself under continuous scrutiny and evaluation regarding the conduct and effectiveness of its workers. This creates a dual challenge to organisations and recruiters to continue to provide an effective and efficient service whilst ensuring high care standards. The challenge is accentuated by the high turnover the sector currently experiences. There is a lack of robust recommendations pertaining to recruitment and selection practices, and a lack of identification of the drivers of turnover in adult social care workers. It is this domain that the present research looks to address. This research seeks to (1) Establish criteria for effective performance of care workers in adult social care, (2) Identify the individual level antecedents of effective performance, (3) Identify the conditions under which antecedents are enhanced or inhibited in achieving effective performance, (4) Develop a strategy for the recruitment and selection of effective care workers, (5) Identify the drivers of retention and attrition in the adult social care sector. The thesis presents the findings of three research studies, with the first two informing the third. The first consisted of interviews with present and past care workers to ascertain drivers of satisfaction and retention versus dissatisfaction and turnover. The second developed and validated a performance effectiveness measure to assess care worker performance. The third consisted of a longitudinal study of care worker effectiveness.This looked to identify the antecedents to effective care worker performance and the wider aspects that may impact on whether performance in realised. This then informed a strategy for the recruitment and selection of care workers. The findings of the main research study revealed: (1) There is no one set of variables that lead to all care worker effectiveness areas,(2) Recruitment and selection recommendations divide into three models: performance, job satisfaction and turnover intention, and actual turnover, (3) Personality has an important role to play in care worker effectiveness. (4) Organisational practices are influential in care worker practices. Theoretical and practical recommendations are also discussed.
Date of Award13 Mar 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMatthew Carter (Supervisor), Ann Davis (Supervisor) & Stephen A Woods (Supervisor)


  • adult social care
  • recruitment and selection
  • performance assessment
  • effectiveness model
  • improved retention

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