Journal Article

The Expected Working Life of a Social Worker

Lesley Curtis, Jo Moriarty and Ann Netten

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 5, pages 1628-1643
Published in print July 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
The Expected Working Life of a Social Worker

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This article reports on an innovative way to measure the expected working life of social workers and social care professionals using a methodology already developed in studies of health care professionals. Previous work has estimated that the expected working life of a doctor is 25 years compared with 15 years for nurses and 28 years for pharmacists. In this work an estimate of the number of years a social worker uses his or her qualification is provided. It appears that at eight years and 13 years, the expected working life of a social worker and social care worker is shorter than these health care professionals and that gender differences are less apparent. It suggests that there is some evidence of exit to other professions and concludes that further research is needed to identify its extent and some of the underlying reasons why this should be the case.

Keywords: Social workers; social care professionals; workforce; working lives; recruitment and retention

Journal Article.  6410 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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