Scotland’s social workers enjoy their jobs most

Scotland’s social workers say they enjoy their job more than their counterparts in other parts of the UK. That was one of the key findings from The Guardian’s Social Lives research launched in Edinburgh on 4 September 2017.

In Scotland 81% of those surveyed said they enjoyed their jobs and 85% said they were proud to be social workers. These figures were both higher than the UK figure which was 77% and 84% respectively.

More respondents in Scotland (43%) said their workload was manageable than the rest of the UK (29%) but they were only slightly more satisfied with their work life balance with 37% saying they were satisfied compared to 33% for the UK.

The research also showed those that had been in the job for less than two years were happier than those who’d been in the job more than 10 years.

Almost one fifth of respondents in Scotland said they were likely to leave the profession in the next five years but 90% of them also indicated there were things that could change their minds; such as reduced case load, better support, better salary and improved work life balance.

Caseloads are the biggest concern for social workers when it comes to work life balance (45%) along with other things like culture change (27%), more social workers (20%), greater recognition from managers of stress on staff (18%), less paperwork (16%), flexible hours (12%) and stress management (9%).

At the launch event The Guardian’s public services editor David Brindle chaired a panel discussion exploring the issues the research raised and the challenges facing Scotland with:

  • Susan Taylor, president of Social Work Scotland and Chief Social Work Officer, East Ayrshire
  • Trisha Hall, manager, Scottish Association of Social Workers
  • Professor Viviene Cree, professor of social work studies, University of Edinburgh
  • David Carter, senior practitioner, City of Edinburgh Council.

The Social Lives survey had 1400 respondents and took place during November-December 2016. One tenth of the respondents were from Scotland.

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