Managers are finding it increasingly difficult to fill the high number of vacancies in social work departments, a snapshot survey by a recruitment agency has found.
The online survey of 104 social work managers in England and Wales, most of whom work in children’s services, showed 55% had faced significant recruitment challenges over the last year.
Forty per cent said staff retention levels had worsened over the same period, according to the research by Liquid Personnel.
Yet Community Care revealed in August last year that one in 10 local authority social worker posts in England and Wales was vacant.
The online survey also asked managers what could be done to attract more people into social work.
A third (35%) said boosting the public image of social work would help. Other solutions included a reduction in bureaucracy, better supervision and smaller caseloads.
A spokesperson for Liquid Personnel said: “Supervision and managerial support are a key concern for new workers entering the profession.
“Social work can be a daunting career to set out on and it’s important that new recruits are supported properly.”
A spokesperson for the College of Social Work said: “Even as the financial cuts begin to take effect in the public sector, we must not forget that a good supply of highly motivated, quality social workers is as important as ever.
“Professional leadership, high standards of practice and increased public confidence in social work will be vital to recruitment and retention.”
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