what is a social worker?
Working as a social worker is a demanding profession that involves interacting with families and institutions to advance social impacts. As a social worker, you promote social change and development and empower communities. Sometimes you advocate for civil rights and raise awareness of mental health issues and child abuse.
Apart from community functions, a social worker enhances the overall well-being of individuals and helps them meet basic and complex needs. Social workers often work with orphans, patients with long-term ailments, seniors, mentally ill people and those with disabilities. They also address the social injustices that hinder a person's well-being, such as discrimination, physical or emotional abuse and substance abuse. While you work with diverse individuals, your focus is on the vulnerable, oppressed and poverty-stricken.
what does a social worker do?
Your job as a social worker involves participating in legislative processes that aid in policy formation. When protecting human rights, you may use legal powers and proceedings to balance the rights of the parties involved. When working with older people, your job is to ensure they receive the welfare support they need. Foster care institutions often have social workers to assist with fostering and providing ongoing support to children in the system.
Would working as a social worker suit your advocacy skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a social worker role.social worker jobs
average salary of a social worker
According to Payscale, the average salary of a social worker in India is around ₹300,000 per year when you are new to the profession. With experience and additional skills, you can earn up to ₹500,000 per year. The salary difference depends on the scope of the role and the complexity of your responsibilities. You take on complex duties when you have years of work experience, and your salary reflects these changes. As well as basic wages, social workers often earn various benefits in their compensation package. For instance, some institutions provide transport allowance, medical insurance and pension benefits.
what factors affect the salary of a social worker?
Your salary as a social worker depends on the company or institution you work for and its size. For instance, large companies pay more than small institutions. Some non-governmental organisations depend on funds from donors to run programmes, which also affects your pay structure. Your compensation package also depends on whether the company is public or private. Social workers employed in the private sector are likely to earn more than those working for government institutions. Working in big cities with a high cost of living also increases your salary prospects compared to working in small towns with a low cost of living.
types of social worker
Social workers often specialise in a specific area of need. Some common specialisms include:
- school social workers: you work with parents and teachers to deal with bullying, aggressive behaviour and frequent absences from school. You also develop strategies for improving social development and academic performance in schools.
- child and family social worker: as a social worker, you assist families in need and protect vulnerable children. For instance, you help families find housing and apply for welfare programmes. You also intervene in family conflicts, cases of abuse and child neglect.
- healthcare social worker: you assist patients in transitioning from hospitals to their homes. You provide information, create support groups and carry out home visits. Sometimes you help them understand the diagnosis and advise on the lifestyle changes.
- mental health and substance abuse social worker: social workers work with people with mental illness to provide information on services and help the family adjust to the diagnosis. You also form support groups for clients with addictions and help them recover.
working as a social worker
If you love championing people's rights and helping them improve their well-being, being a social worker is a fulfilling career. Read on for insight into your daily duties and responsibilities.
duties and responsibilities
While specific roles depend on the institution you work for and pre-determined work processes, some typical tasks include:
- identifying families and people in need of help: as a social worker, you identify people in the community that need help. For instance, you may identify homeless and senior people in your area. With domestic incidents, you may help to identify the victims of violence and vulnerable children.
- conducting initial assessments: social workers evaluate clients' problems and determine effective ways to improve their welfare. Your job is to compile information on your client's situation in the community and their issues. You also learn their family and medical history to identify the support required.
- researching and seeking assistance: after initial assessments, you can identify your clients' needs. The next step is to research the public assistance and welfare programmes available. For instance, you should find government treatment facilities to address their healthcare needs if they need treatment. You also try to find them housing or identify foster homes for children.
- maintaining contact with clients: after securing the assistance your client needs, you should maintain contact to ensure their continued well-being. You can also recommend community support groups to help them recover.
- responding to crises: when one of your clients has a problem, you determine the right way to intervene and provide assistance. In mental health, sexual assault or child abuse emergencies, you understand the importance of protecting your clients' rights.
As a social worker, you work in various institutions depending on your area of specialisation. You can be employed by the local government, healthcare providers, family services or schools. Most social workers' duties are office-based and involve going through files and documents for various clients. You also visit clients in their homes and attend community support group meetings. Some school social workers oversee multiple schools and travel around the school district to visit students or attend programmes.
who are your colleagues?
Depending on your employer, your colleagues might include family support workers, supervising social workers, child protection officers, mental health nurses and community psychiatric nurses. You might also work with deputy care managers, counsellors, care assistants, and other specialists, such as mediators, paralegals, and educational consultants.
Social workers work part-time or full-time positions, depending on the scope of the role. Full-time social workers typically work around 40 hours per week. While you can complete most responsibilities within the 9 am to 5 pm office hours, you are always on call if a client needs your services. You may also work weekends, evenings or bank holidays to deal with client emergencies. Part-time opportunities are often available in non-governmental organisations that need social workers on a case-by-case basis. Some social workers work remotely, especially those who provide counselling services. You can use video conferencing to conduct support group sessions and organise support remotely.
As India continues on its path of economic development and growth, the demand for social improvements has increased. Professional social workers have become highly sought-after by a wide range of bodies. As well as government institutions, you can find work with charities and NGOs like Make a Difference, Nanhi Kali and the Smile Foundation. You may specialise in particular areas like mental health or physical disabilities. You can also move into healthcare services with additional training.
advantages of finding a social worker job through randstad
Finding your social worker job through Randstad provides important advantages such as:
- a wide variety of training and development opportunities
- an experienced contact person to provide help if needed
- a range of opportunities in your area
- get paid on a monthly basis
- temporary and permanent contracts
Want a permanent contract? A temporary job as a social worker is often a stepping stone to an attractive permanent job. Every year, thousands of people earn a permanent contract with great employers thanks to a temporary job found through Randstad. What's more, many companies recruit their permanent employees through Randstad too!
education and skills
There are two different routes to becoming a social worker:
- university degree: you can join the social work field by completing an undergraduate degree in social work or related courses. A bachelor's degree in social work (BSW) is designed specifically for professional social work and will provide excellent job prospects. You can also complete a master's in social work for higher career progression.
- work experience: while a suitable degree is advantageous, it is not strictly necessary. Working with charities or voluntary organisations may provide useful opportunities for on-the-job learning. With commitment and aptitude, you can build a career in social work from the ground up.
skills and competencies
Social workers need various skills to keep up with the demands of their profession. Some of the vital skills include:
- empathy: as a social worker, you can understand your clients' experiences and step into their shoes. This enables you to accurately determine their needs and provide the most appropriate support.
- communication: good communication skills are vital for social workers since they communicate with a diverse range of people. When advocating for your client's rights, it is crucial to communicate concisely with care providers and colleagues. Your understanding of verbal and non-verbal cues helps you better understand your clients.
- critical thinking: as a social worker, you evaluate each case from the information gathered and client interviews. These skills also help you determine the best resources to assist your clients.
- patience: social workers benefit from the patience to handle complex cases or assist clients who need longer periods to make progress. Patience also helps you avoid making mistakes that lead to poor outcomes.
FAQs about working as a social worker
Here are some common questions about working as a social worker:
what does a social worker do?
A social worker assists various people in the community to deal with problems or cope with life-changing conditions. You also help clients meet their basic needs and receive relevant authorities' support.
what is the salary of a social worker?
The salary of a social worker in India ranges from about ₹300,000 to ₹500,000. Most companies also pay overtime wages and may provide medical insurance.
do social workers get paid well?
Yes. Social workers earn an attractive salary based on their experience level. Private entities may pay more than public organisations.
is social work a good career?
Social work is a fulfilling career if you love helping people. You advocate for the less fortunate in society and ensure they benefit from welfare programmes.
what skills does a social worker need?
As a social worker, you have good communication skills and empathy to provide the best services to your clients. You also show patience when handling challenging cases.
how do I apply for a social worker vacancy?
Applying for a social worker job is easy: create a Randstad profile and search our job offers for vacancies in your area. Then simply send us your CV and cover letter. Need help with your application? Check out all our job search tips here!