A fifth of social workers look for new work

in five social care professionals are looking for a new job and over half keep
an eye on the jobs sector in case something better to comes up, a Community
Care survey has revealed, writes Gideon Burrows.

survey of 3’000 Community Care readers revealed that lack of challenge, poor
promotion prospects and low pay were causing people to look for new jobs. Over
twenty per cent of respondents said they were actively looking for a new
position. One in four expected to be working for a new employer within two

two thirds of respondents said salary levels in social care were fairly poor or
very poor. Their average salary rose by 10 per cent since 1998 to £25,770. The
average full time salary is £26,440.

research paints a picture of volatility in the social care jobs market. Workers
are staying with a single employer for one year less, on average, than in 1998.
Better pay may have prevented one in five employees from leaving their last
job, but over a quarter said nothing would have made them stay.

Leadbetter, who becomes president of the Association of Directors of Social
services this month, said social workers no longer considered on a job for life
with one local authority.

are real issues about pain in the public sector period, but particularly in the
front-line jobs,” he said.

Johnston, director of the British Association of Social Work, said he wasn’t
surprised by the survey’s findings.

workers are generally demoralized, disillusioned and disempowered,” he said.
“The positive thing is that there is some acknowledge of this by the
government. We will continue to lobby for acknowledgement in financial terms.”

Department of Health is to launch a major three-year recruitment campaign for
social workers at the national social services conference in Harrogate this
month, but has faced criticism because there is no mention of more money being
provided to improve salaries or conditions.

Community Care survey revealed people were much less dedicated employers than
they were three years ago. Workers who expected to move jobs soon, while
continuing to work for the same employer, said they expected to remain with
that employer for nearly four years, compared with thirteen years in 1998.

of high quality care was seen as the most important factor effecting job
satisfaction. Adequate resources and a manageable workload were also rated

the survey respondents, nearly half were either social workers or senior social
workers. One in five were departmental heads, and one in ten were managers or
directors. Half worked with children or families. Over two thirds worked in a
local authority setting.

quarters of respondents who worked in health and one- third of all respondents,
said they worked in multi-disciplinarily teams.

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