WillisPalmer is continuing to provide our expert social work and psychological services during lockdown. We are utilising technology alongside safe working practices in line with government guidance to enable us to continue supporting vulnerable children and families.

Call 01206 878178 to discuss your requirements.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Two fifths of social workers plan to leave profession within five years

Two-fifths of social workers expect to leave the profession within the next five years, with children and family social workers the most likely to plan to leave, according to research for Social Work England.

The YouGov research for the regulator found that the most common reason for people to leave social work is the high workload (39%), followed by poor health (32%) and poor work/ life balance (29%).

Some social workers reported that they were leaving the profession go to in alternative third sector roles or go freelance in social and health care.

The report suggests that Social Work England could improve retention by improving the public profile of social work, providing greater direct support to lower caseloads, and providing more training.

"The majority of social workers are proud of their profession (89%), but only around a quarter (26%) would recommend it to a friend or family member," said the report.

Social workers are proud when they feel they have made an impact on people’s lives, but the stress from the number and nature of cases can make it difficult to feel that they are making a difference. Almost a quarter of social workers have low morale and for nearly half, morale has not changed over the past year, but it is affected by the media.

Most respondents do not think that social work is respected by society (76%) and that levels of respect are far worse than for similar frontline services such as nurses and teachers.

However, many respondents blame the media for fuelling this perception with eight in ten reporting that the social work profession is portrayed negatively in the news.
Yet, the vast majority of respondents feel strongly that social workers are providing an essential service (96%) and play a unique role in society (92%).

Eighty five per cent of current social workers report stress as a result of their job, with the most common causes being a high administrative workload (62%), a focus on targets rather than user issues (56%), and a high caseload (48%).

The vast majority of current social workers do think that the profession inspires them to be the best that they can be (81%) and that being a social worker is a great thing to do (87%).

Fifty five per cent of social workers met with their line manager weekly and 77 per cent said they felt respected by their manager. Almost half were receiving fortnightly or monthly supervision while 17 per cent were receiving regulatory supervision weekly or more. However, some of the qualitative respondents reported a lack of support in this area.

Continuing professional development is widely available, with the most common types being online learning (69%), in-house programmes (60%), and external conferences (52%).

Overall, all respondents (current social workers, former social workers, and students) have a strong level of understanding of the role of the social work regulator (80%). The role of a specialist regulator is also valued by 77% of respondents.

"In the qualitative research, many social workers hope that Social Work England will be a voice of social workers and help counteract negative rhetoric from the media," the report concluded.

A report on the social work profession

Make an enquiry

A multi-disciplinary organisation providing independent, high quality social work and psychological services. Contact us with your requirements and speak to a member of our team who will help you today.
Make an Enquiry

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Practice guidelines to accompany legislative changes on siblings in care


CELCIS is seeking views to feed into practice guidelines which will accompany some legislative changes to uphold the rights and meet the needs of brothers and sisters with care experience.

Changes are being made to Section 13 of the Children (Scotland) 2020 Act, and the Looked After Children (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021 and most of these [...]

Read Full Story

Working households no guarantee for lifting families out of poverty


Having an adult in the household in paid work is not sufficient to raise some families out of child poverty in Scotland, official statistics have shown.

While the risk of poverty is much lower for children where someone in the household is in paid work compared to those in workless households, not all work pays enough [...]

Read Full Story

£280 million boost for SEND provision


The government has announced £280 million funding for special educational needs and disabilities provision.

The funding will be allocated to local authorities to enable them to create new places in early years settings, schools, academies and colleges. The funding can be used to contribute to the cost of creating a whole new special school, or by [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

closechevron-downbars linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram