Sector Spotlight: Social Work
Sector Spotlight: Social Work

Posted on 24 March 2021

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Safe-distancing and self-isolation requirements, brought on by Covid-19, threw a spotlight on the vital role of social workers. These professionals have been integral in helping people deal with loneliness, stress and anxiety, whether caused by the pandemic or not, as well as helping their beneficiaries plan for the future.

Their importance has also been reflected in an increase in demand for such professionals. For example:

  • Social service agencies have created more than 400 training opportunities for fresh graduates over the last few months through the SGUnited Traineeships Programme
  • The social service workforce increased from 15,000 in 2017 to 16,500 in 2019
  • 450+ social service organisations in Singapore
  • 19,000 expected to be employed in this sector by 2025
  • $350m to support social service agencies and build giving culture in Singapore Budget 2020

Hiring in social work

As social service agencies continue to make use of schemes such as the SGUnited Mid-Career Support Package and Jobs Growth Incentive, they are expanding and upgrading to embrace digital solutions, reach out to more beneficiaries and streamline processes.

Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli said that, “This is a good opportunity for our sector to hire mid-career professionals from other sectors with backgrounds in technology, finance, HR or others, looking to make the switch.”

Hence, this is a good sector for professional, manager, executive and technician (PMETs) who are looking for a career switch. Many skills from other sectors, such as project management, problem solving, empathy and quick thinking are all desirable in social work.

The social work sector is experiencing a boom currently, and you may wish to take part!

What is a social worker?

Social workers empower the vulnerable and those in need, dedicating their careers to compassionate care. Locally, they focus on five social areas: children and youth, disabilities and special needs, families and mental health and seniors. Serving in voluntary welfare organisations, social enterprises, professional associations and other sector organisations, the professionals in this sector work hand-in-hand each day to empower lives.

Jobs include:

Social Worker
  • Diploma or Degree in Social Work
  • 0-2 years experience
  • $3,000-$4,000/month
  • A Social Worker, also called a Social Work Associate, is qualified to assist in providing interventions and programmes, perform community development work and generally uplift and uphold the professional practice of social work. A Social Worker’s portfolio includes coordinating casework, group work and community development activities and programmes, supporting community events and performing administrative functions. As he or she normally works in a team, a responsive and collaborative attitude is a must.
Youth Worker
  • Diploma or Degree in Social Work
  • 0-2 years experience
  • $2,200-$3,500/month
  • Focusing on developing youths into well-adjusted and contributing members of society, the Youth Worker provides interventions and programmes to teenagers. This occupation includes developing and implementing casework, group work and community development activities and programmes. The Youth Worker works in schools, communities and youth sector organisations to guide youths in their personal, social and mental development.
Psychologist
  • Masters degree in Psychology, Counselling or related fields
  • 2-3 years experience
  • $3,000-$6,000/month
  • A Psychologist provides psychological services within multi-disciplinary settings, applying a wide array of psychometric assessments and treatments for clients with psychological conditions. The job may also require a Psychologist to conduct educational programmes and/or train other professionals. Psychologists are employed in a variety of social work settings from hospitals, voluntary welfare organisations, private institutions and others. Due to this wide variance of work, starting salaries for psychologists differ greatly.
Volunteer Manager
  • Diploma or Degree in any field
  • 2-3 years experience
  • $3,000-$4,000/month
  • A Volunteer Manager coordinates, organizes and recruits volunteers. This may include evaluating existing strategies, and proposing and implementing new ones. Volunteer Managers also identify and explore opportunities for collaboration, whether with other social service organisations, community stakeholders or corporate partners. This role would require polished organisational skills and effective resource management for success.

What qualifications are needed for a career in this sector?

Most social work positions required a related diploma or degree at minimum. More specialised positions, such as psychologist, required a Masters or higher qualification. Some positions also listed a post-graduate qualification in Counselling or Family Therapy as advantageous, but did not regard it as a requirement or substitute for the base academic qualification.

Many positions were open to individuals with little or no experience, though experience in a voluntary setting was regarded as a plus when considering applications. Organisations also tended to prioritise experience in their particular setting (e.g., clinic setting, volunteer management, inventory processing).

What career opportunities are there in the sector?

The social work sector is going to need many more people in the time to come, as we recover from the impact of Covid-19 and its toll on our hearts. Perhaps, that is the strongest argument for social work as a career – the chance to make a difference in many lives, knowing that your contributions help another.

That said, the social work sector is also a good sector for those looking to switch careers. This is because many skills are transferrable from other sectors to social work. A project manager, for example, can easily learn how to lead a team of volunteers while an events planner can put such skills to work organising donation drives.

Apply for a career in social work now!

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