WorkerTech newsletter: January 2023

The latest update from Resolution Ventures


Are you a founder of a social business, or have an idea for one you’d like to start? We’re partnering with Shift Design to interview founders or aspiring founders to help us improve the way we support entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas and access early-stage investment. Participants will receive a thank you of £50 for 90 minutes of their time – just fill out this form to register your interest.

For this newsletter, I’m focusing on an area of work that both our research and ventures team at Resolution Foundation are seeking to improve. Last week we published a report on care work which found that low pay and a recruitment and retention crisis were critical issues for care workers. At the end of 2022, we hosted a roundtable to discuss how innovation can address issues for care workers with a view to tying this research and expert insight together. Today, I’m bringing together these insights to share the key areas where tech and innovation could improve jobs in the sector.

If you are developing a WorkerTech idea and want to chat about idea development or investment, please do get in touch.

Ventures Manager
Resolution Ventures

Innovating and technology for the care sector

In 2021-22, more than one-in-ten frontline care jobs in England were vacant, up from fewer than one-in-twenty in 2012-13, with 68 per cent of current care workers saying they work under a high degree of tension. In December 2022, we brought together a range of experts from the care sector to explore how tech and innovation could improve this experience of work for carers. Here are the areas we identified:

📅 Flexibility offers that attract and retain care workers – Better scheduling tools that maximise paid time (rather than travel) and that factor in workers’ preferences for hours and shift patterns could help accommodate flexibility and attract and retain more carers in the industry. Those with more sophisticated scheduling tools are better able to accommodate a range of preferences over hours. For example, Care City has partnered with schedule optimisers, Satalia, to pilot scheduling district nurse visits to accommodate patient needs and team hours.

🎓 Integrating training, autonomy and progression – There is a role tech can play in updating and improving edtech for the care sector. Embedding bite-sized training via an app into day-to-day care work could be a way to tie together more formal training and on the job learning to ensure workers learn new skills. Organisations such as CuppaCare are piloting this already.

📱 Technology can support connection and community – There is an opportunity for tech to enhance care work by supporting these connections and relationships. Equal Care Co-op uses tech to bring together everyone involved in a caring setting, including crucially the person receiving care if they wish, into one digital communication channel where they can share updates on the care recipient, discuss care schedules and seek advice.

🤝 Finding better models of blended care – There is demand for services that provide better emotional and practical support for unpaid carers, including those juggling unpaid care with work. Mobilise and Companiion are just two examples of companies tackling this.

For a detailed blog on the discussion head to our website.

Latest insights from the Resolution Foundation

Living Standards Outlook 2023 – combining a survey of 10,000 adults in the UK with modelling for household incomes for the coming year, this report finds that the cost of living crisis is set to continue in 2023 with workers at the bottom of the wage distribution feeling most unsure about finances in the coming months. A government review of current policy is needed to ensure support is targeted at low-income families until the crisis eases in 2024.

Is the labour market at a cross roads? – while the labour market still remains tight, there are early signs of cooling with vacancies falling in both public and private sectors, and redundancies increasing. Falling vacancies aren’t yet feeding through to unemployment which remains at 3.7%, with young people making up a significant part of this.

Who cares? – jobs in social care have many positive aspects of working in the sector, including the ability to form deep personal connections with clients, job security, and greater levels of flexibility and autonomy than are possible in many low-paid jobs. But there are many challenges too. Pay is low, sometimes unlawfully so when travel time is taken into account, and staff shortages can lead to unsafe work. The report calls for higher minimum levels of pay and better enforcement of employment rights.

We’re also expanding our social media presence so follow us on Instagram and TikTok for more research insights!

WorkerTech stories

  • Resolution Ventures has made a follow-on investment into TaskHer, the platform that connects people to tradeswomen and addresses the gender imbalance in the sector at present. We’re excited to be co-investing with Ufi Ventures and Bethnal Green Ventures, and to be supporting the brilliant co-founders Anna and Paul with the next stage in the journey.
  • Our portfolio company, CareerEar, has pivoted and re-branded to become EarlyBird. While still focusing on young people from underrepresented backgrounds, EarlyBird is now empowering employment providers to them into sustainable employment through innovative voice recording technology which transforms the on-boarding experience and allows advisers to give more tailored advice.
  • According to Wired management training is not just for human beings. We agree that management of workers by algorithm needs regulation. The Institute of the Future of Work has set out a toolkit for algorithmic impact assessments to ensure that businesses take a worker-first approach to building AI into decision making processes.
  • Catch-22 announced their first Social Tech Amplifier cohort with our portfolio company, EarlyBird (previously CareerEar) joining ten other WorkerTech ventures. In partnership with Social Tech Trust and Ufi VocTech Trust, this programme will enable participants to scale their ideas to support more young people into good work.

Get involved

Apply for direct investment from Resolution Ventures. We accept applications from WorkerTech ventures on a rolling basis. Or you can book a slot in our office hours for an initial conversation.

Apply for the new 100x Impact Accelerator, hosted by the LSE. They are looking for social ventures with at least an MVP to join their programme and offering £150k of capital per venture. Apply by 10th March.

If you’re as US-based WorkerTech founder, you can apply for the Worker’s Lab Innovation Fund 2022/23. Innovators will receive a monthly stipend and support to develop their worker-focused ideas. Applications are now open and will close in March 2023.