Social Workers

ANZSCO ID 2725

Overview

Snapshot

Employed
46,200
Future Growth
23.2%
Weekly Earnings
$1,736
Full-Time Share
64%
Female Share
84%
Average age
42

Summary

Social Workers assess the social needs of individuals, families and groups, assist and empower people to develop and use the skills and resources needed to resolve social and other problems, and further human wellbeing and human rights, social justice and social development.

Tasks

  • acting as a facilitator between clients in need and community services

  • assessing resources for health, welfare, recreation, housing, employment and other community services

  • providing leadership and assistance for the implementation of pilot projects in community development and self-help, and planning and implementing research projects to address client needs, organisation goals and social policy

  • cooperating with community organisations, social agencies and voluntary groups to improve services and develop new services

  • conducting individual and family case interviews to identify the nature and extent of clients' problems

  • assisting clients to understand and resolve problems by providing information, acting as a mediator and referring them to community and self-help agencies

  • analysing, developing, promoting and implementing social policies through the use of practice experience, research, analytic frameworks, and negotiation skills to respond to social need through a fair, equitable and effective allocation of social resource

  • monitoring the progress of clients by maintaining contact

  • compiling case records and reports

Characteristics

Job Type
Professionals
Skill Level
Very high skill
ANZSCO Occupation group
Unemployment Rate
Below average
Industries
Pathway(s)
  • University
Interests
  • Analytical
  • Helping
Physical Demand
  • Sedentary
  • Light

Outlook

Employment Outlook

JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:

  • is expected to grow very strongly
  • is likely to reach 49,300 by 2026.
  • Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.

    Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.

    Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.

Projected Change
23.2%
(or 9,300 jobs)
From
40,000
in 2021
To
49,300
in 2026

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Year Employment
2011 21,900
2012 23,300
2013 32,200
2014 31,900
2015 29,900
2016 26,100
2017 32,300
2018 37,100
2019 37,800
2020 30,400
2021 40,000
2026 49,300

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.


Earnings and hours

Working arrangements

  • Around 64% of people employed as Social Workers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is similar to the all jobs average (66%).

    Full-time workers work an average of 41 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).

    More than a third of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).

    Median full-time earnings are $1,736 per week, this is higher than the all jobs median ($1,593):

    • 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,479
    • 1 in 4 earn more than $1,993

    Median hourly earnings are $45, this is more than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).

    Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Earnings Social Workers All Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings 1,736 1,593
Total Earnings 0 0

Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.


Industries

Main industries

1
Health Care and Social Assistance
74.1%
2
Public Administration and Safety
17.1%
3
Education and Training
4.8%
4
Other Services
2.9%
5
Other industries
1.3%

Regions

Employment across Australia

NSW

28.5% All occupations: 31.6%

VIC

29.4% All occupations: 25.6%

QLD

17.0% All occupations: 20.0%

SA

10.5% All occupations: 7.0%

WA

8.7% All occupations: 10.8%

TAS

2.9% All occupations: 2.0%

NT

1.1% All occupations: 1.0%

ACT

1.8% All occupations: 1.9%

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

State Social Workers All Jobs Average
NSW 28.5 31.6
VIC 29.4 25.6
QLD 17.0 20.0
SA 10.5 7.0
WA 8.7 10.8
TAS 2.9 2.0
NT 1.1 1.0
ACT 1.8 1.9


  • Around 63% of Social Workers live in capital cities, similar to the all jobs average of 62%.

    Victoria and South Australia have a large share of employment relative to their population size.

    The regions with the largest share of workers are:

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.


Worker profile

Age and gender

Age In Years
42
All Jobs Average is 40
Female Share
84%
All Jobs Average is 48%
  • The median age of Social Workers is 42 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.

    A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.

    Females make up 84% of the workforce. This is 36 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age Bracket Social Workers All Jobs Average
15-19 0.1 5.0
20-24 3.7 9.3
25-34 27.6 22.9
35-44 25.9 22.0
45-54 21.9 21.6
55-59 10.2 9.0
60-64 7.1 6.0
65 and Over 3.3 4.2
Median Age 42 40

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.


Employment Pathways

Education, training and experience

Either a bachelor degree in social work or a bachelor in a related field followed by a masters in social work is needed to work as a Social Worker.

Visit

  • Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
  • ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of Qualification Social Workers All Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate 24.0 10.1
Bachelor degree 58.8 21.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma 9.4 11.6
Certificate III/IV 3.6 21.1
Year 12 2.9 18.1
Year 11 0.4 4.8
Year 10 and below 1.0 12.5

Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.


Skills and Knowledge

Employers look for Social Workers who are responsible and independent, yet who can also work well in a team.

Skills

Skills can be improved through training or experience.

  • 75%

    Social perceptiveness

    Understanding why people react the way they do.

  • 68%

    Active listening

    Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.

  • 61%

    Reading comprehension

    Reading work related information.

  • 61%

    Serving others

    Looking for ways to help people.

  • 61%

    Speaking

    Talking to others.

  • 61%

    Writing

    Writing things for co-workers or customers.

  • 59%

    Coordination with others

    Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.

  • 59%

    Critical thinking

    Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.

  • 57%

    Judgment and decision making

    Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.

  • 55%

    Active learning

    Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.

  • 55%

    Monitoring

    Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.

  • 54%

    Learning strategies

    Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.

  • 52%

    Complex problem solving

    Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.

  • 52%

    Persuasion

    Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.

  • 52%

    Systems evaluation

    Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.

  • 50%

    Time management

    Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.

  • 46%

    Instructing

    Teaching people how to do something.

  • 46%

    Management of personnel resources

    Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.

  • 46%

    Operations analysis

    Understanding needs and product requirements to create a design.

  • 43%

    Negotiation

    Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.


Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  • 98%

    Therapy and counselling

    Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.

  • 93%

    Psychology

    Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.

  • 87%

    Customer and personal service

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  • 74%

    English language

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  • 72%

    Education and training

    Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  • 68%

    Sociology and anthropology

    Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

  • 56%

    Clerical

    Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

  • 53%

    Philosophy and theology

    Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.

  • 46%

    Computers and electronics

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

  • 43%

    Law and government

    How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.

  • 43%

    Administration and management

    Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

  • 43%

    Medicine and dentistry

    Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.

  • 38%

    Personnel and human resources

    Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.

  • 36%

    Communications and media

    Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.

  • 34%

    Mathematics

    Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

  • 34%

    Sales and marketing

    Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

  • 30%

    Public safety and security

    Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.

  • 27%

    Transportation

    Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.

  • 27%

    Foreign language

    Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.

  • 13%

    Telecommunications

    Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.


Abilities

Workers use these physical and mental abilities..

  • 64%

    Oral comprehension

    Listen to and understand what people say.

  • 63%

    Oral expression

    Communicate by speaking.

  • 63%

    Problem spotting

    Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.

  • 61%

    Deductive reasoning

    Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.

  • 61%

    Speech recognition

    Identify and understand the speech of another person.

  • 61%

    Written comprehension

    Read and understand written information.

  • 61%

    Written expression

    Write in a way that people can understand.

  • 57%

    Inductive reasoning

    Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.

  • 55%

    Brainstorming

    Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.

  • 55%

    Near vision

    See details that are up-close (within a few feet).

  • 54%

    Speech clarity

    Speak clearly so others can understand you.

  • 52%

    Categorising

    Come up with different ways of grouping things.

  • 52%

    Originality

    Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.

  • 48%

    Sorting or ordering

    Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

  • 45%

    Far vision

    See details that are far away.

  • 45%

    Flexibility of closure

    See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.

  • 43%

    Selective attention

    Pay attention to something without being distracted.

  • 43%

    Speed of recognition

    Quickly make sense of and organize things you can see like letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.

  • 41%

    Memorization

    Remember things like words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.

  • 41%

    Multitasking

    Do two or more things at the same time.


Activities

These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.

  • 83%

    Building good relationships

    Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.

  • 82%

    Helping and caring for others

    Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.

  • 77%

    Planning and prioritising work

    Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.

  • 76%

    Communicating within a team

    Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.

  • 73%

    Negotiating and resolving conflicts

    Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.

  • 72%

    Working with the public

    Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.

  • 69%

    Keeping your knowledge up-to-date

    Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.

  • 67%

    Making decisions and solving problems

    Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.

  • 66%

    Giving expert advice

    Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups.

  • 66%

    Documenting or recording information

    Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

  • 66%

    Coaching and developing others

    Working out the needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping them to improve.

  • 66%

    Communicating with the public

    Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.

  • 64%

    Training and teaching others

    Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.

  • 62%

    Researching and investigating

    Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.

  • 61%

    Looking for changes over time

    Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.

  • 61%

    Thinking creatively

    Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.

  • 60%

    Providing office support

    Doing day-to-day office work such as filing and processing paperwork.

  • 57%

    Checking compliance with standards

    Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

  • 55%

    Leading and encouraging a team

    Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

  • 48%

    Working with computers

    Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.


Interests and demands

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Interests

Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.

  • 100%

    Helping

    Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.

  • 57%

    Analytical

    Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.

  • 48%

    Creative

    Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.

  • 48%

    Enterprising

    Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.

  • 43%

    Administrative

    Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.

  • 14%

    Practical

    Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


Values

Work values are important to a person’s feeling of satisfaction. All six values are shown below.
  • 95%

    Relationships

    Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.

  • 81%

    Achievement

    Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

  • 81%

    Independence

    Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.

  • 76%

    Working conditions

    Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.

  • 67%

    Support

    Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.

  • 62%

    Recognition

    Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.


Demands

The physical and social demands that workers face most often are shown below:
  • 100%

    Face-to-face discussions

    Talk with people face-to-face.

  • 99%

    Electronic mail

    Use electronic mail.

  • 99%

    Telephone

    Talk on the telephone.

  • 94%

    Contact with people

    Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.

  • 93%

    Teamwork

    Work with people in a group or team.

  • 90%

    Contact with the public

    Work with customers or the public.

  • 90%

    Disease or infection

    Be exposed to disease or infections.

  • 90%

    Indoors, heat controlled

    Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.

  • 89%

    Unstructured work

    Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.

  • 89%

    Freedom to make decisions

    Have freedom to make decision on your own.

  • 87%

    Frequent decision making

    Frequently make decisions that impact other people.

  • 86%

    Time pressure

    Work to strict deadlines.

  • 82%

    Letters and memos

    Write letters and memos.

  • 81%

    Angry or unpleasant people

    Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.

  • 81%

    Conflict situations

    Deal with conflict or disagreements.

  • 81%

    Impact of decisions

    Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.

  • 81%

    Physically close to people

    Work physically close to other people.

  • 77%

    Lead or coordinate a team

    Lead others to do work activities.

  • 72%

    Spend time sitting

    Spend time sitting at work.

  • 68%

    Being exact or accurate

    Be very exact or highly accurate.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 21-1022.00 - Healthcare Social Workers.


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