“Strivers”, “doers”, and “seekers”: Social workers and their commitment to the job

Roger Smith, Laura Venn, Evgenia Stepanova, John Carpenter, Demi Patsios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Amid considerable interest in the experiences of early career professionals in social work in England and internationally, and the relationship between these and retention and progression, this article reports on the findings of one element of a larger evaluation. It reports the findings and analysis of interviews with 42 relative newcomers to social work, some 3 years following qualification, focusing on their current career orientations, and how these appear to affect their future intentions.

We identified three distinct groups, designated as “strivers,” “doers,” and “seekers.” Each of these groups demonstrated a different kind and level of commitment to their social work role and identity: Strivers were oriented towards career progression and taking on senior roles; doers were committed practitioners who saw themselves as continuing in front line service delivery for the foreseeable future; and seekers, although still committed to social work in principle, tended to be more unsure about their future place in the profession.

This typology appears to be reasonably robust on the basis of our investigation and has implications for career planning and supervision of social work professionals, especially at the early stages of their careers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Early online date11 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Department for Education. Grant Number: DFE‐RR786


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