In a time when unemployment rates are high across the nation, social workers are specifically experiencing high levels of unemployment. Even those who are highly skilled and experienced may be underemployed due to lack of ability to find a position in their area or one that fulfills their scheduling needs as parents.
Reasons for unemployment amongst social workers varies. The greatest reason for the decrease in jobs in this field is due to funding cuts by the government. In the economic downturn, government agencies have reduced spending in various areas and have cut various social programs. As a result, the demand for workers has decreased.
Additionally, funding cuts by school systems also due to poor economic circumstances has lead to a decrease in hiring of school based social workers.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities have also been experiencing economic hardship. In addition to the natural consequences of economic downturn, hospitals are also experiencing increased costs such as Medicare penalties for readmission rates. These organizations are forced to divert their funds to various means that will reduce their penalties, thereby decreasing the funds available to hire staff such as social workers.
If unemployed, it may be necessary to accept positions that pay lower than the previously expected pay for the job. However, there are ways to improve the chances of finding a job.
First, volunteering in a capacity that is aligned with one's specialty is a top way to build skills and knowledge, network, and remain active in the field. If working with the geriatric population is one's specialty, volunteering at a senior center or assisted living facility may be ideal. For those who intend to help populations affected by substance abuse or mental illness, volunteering for a crisis hotline may be useful. Hospitals are ideal volunteer locations for any potential social worker.
In addition to volunteering, furthering education is another way to build skills, network, and become a more attractive job candidate. Taking classes or acquiring a Masters degree or Ph.D can be extremely helpful and improving the chances of finding work.
Working part-time or accepting contractual positions can also improve the possibility of finding a full time career in social work.
Finally, using tools such as LinkedIn and other social media in order to network and job search can be helpful for anyone seeking a job.
Using all of the available tools and resources available, improving education and skills, and networking with other professionals can all potentially yield a new job in social work.
You can also find the latest job openings in social work on the OpenPlacement job board. Search and find jobs here: https://www.openplacement.com/community/jobs/.