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.

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

    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

    All Social Workers

    • $1,829 Weekly Pay
    • Strong Future Growth
    • Lower unemployment Unemployment
    • 32,900 workers Employment Size
    • Very high skill Skill level rating
    • 64% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 41 hours Average full-time
    • 42 years Average age
    • 84% female Gender Share

    The number of people working as Social Workers (in their main job) grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years:
    from 32,900 in 2018 to 35,500 by 2023.
    Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
    There are likely to be around 23,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 4,600 a year).

    • Size: This is a large occupation.
    • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2018.
    • Location: Social Workers work in many regions of Australia.
    • Industries: Most work in Health Care and Social Assistance; Public Administration and Safety; and Education and Training.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $1,829 per week (very high compared to the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • Full-time: Many work full-time (64%, similar to the average of 66%).
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 41 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 42 years (compared to the average of 40 years).
    • Gender: 84% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
    YearNumber of Workers
    200816500
    200915400
    201018900
    201121400
    201222800
    201324200
    201430300
    201533000
    201627200
    201728300
    201832900
    202335500

    Weekly Earnings

    Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, 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.
    EarningsSocial WorkersAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings18291460

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Health Care and Social Assistance71.1
    Public Administration and Safety20.1
    Education and Training3.6
    Other Services2.4
    Other Industries2.8

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateSocial WorkersAll Jobs Average
    NSW28.531.6
    VIC29.425.6
    QLD17.020.0
    SA10.57.0
    WA8.710.8
    TAS2.92.0
    NT1.11.0
    ACT1.81.9

    Age Profile

    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 BracketSocial WorkersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-190.1-5.05.0
    20-243.7-9.39.3
    25-3427.6-22.922.9
    35-4425.9-22.022.0
    45-5421.9-21.621.6
    55-5910.2-9.09.0
    60-647.1-6.06.0
    65 and Over3.3-4.24.2

    Education Level

    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 QualificationSocial WorkersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate24.0-10.110.1
    Bachelor degree58.8-21.821.8
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma9.4-11.611.6
    Certificate III/IV3.6-21.121.1
    Year 122.9-18.118.1
    Year 110.4-4.84.8
    Year 10 and below1.0-12.512.5

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

    Membership with the Australian Association of Social Workers may be useful.

    Checks, licences and tickets

    You may need:

    • national police check
    • working with children check
    • first aid certificate
    • be up to date with immunisations

    Thinking about study or training?

    Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

    • Search and compare thousands of higher education courses, and their entry requirements from different institutions across Australia at Course Seeker website.
    • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.

    Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

    Useful links and resources


    The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

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

    Filter Skills & Knowledge

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    1. Therapy and counselling

      98% Skill level

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

    2. Psychology

      93% Skill level

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

    3. Customer and personal service

      87% Skill level

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

    4. English language

      74% Skill level

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

    5. Education and training

      72% Skill level

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

    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.

    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.

    Filter Work Environment

    Demands

    The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

    1. Face-to-face discussions

      100% Important

      Talk with people face-to-face.

    2. Electronic mail

      99% Important

      Use electronic mail.

    3. Telephone

      99% Important

      Talk on the telephone.

    4. Contact with people

      94% Important

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

    5. Teamwork

      93% Important

      Work with people in a group or team.

    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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