Reduced stress and manageable caseloads have become more important to social workers seeking new jobs according to research commissioned by Community Care Jobs.
The survey of 1,351 social workers undertaken last year examined how social workers’ attitudes to job hunting have changed since a previous survey carried out in 2014.
While the top factor most likely to make them consider a new job remains a better work-life balance (48%) this was followed by less stress (36%).
This is compared to 2014 when better pay was the second most important factor.
Also making an appearance in the top five is lower caseloads while new work challenges and better career development opportunities have dropped off.
The results suggest a marked shift in what tempts social workers to seek new employment in the past two years, with a desire for a less stressful and pressured work life taking precedence over traditional motivations such as better pay and career development opportunities.
More pressure, less pride
The changes come despite social workers feeling more positive about how they are managed and supported than in 2014.
In 2014 56% said they were “well managed” and the same proportion felt they got an appropriate level of support in their current job. In the 2016 survey 62% said they were “well managed” and 61% felt they got the appropriate level of support at their workplace.
However 96% of respondents told this year’s survey that there is more day-to-day pressure on social workers than ever before and only 46% felt prouder to be a social worker today than three years ago, compared to 50% in 2014.