Social workers play a vital role in maintaining and improving the lives of the service users that they work with. Despite this, the role is replete with high levels of stress-related sickness absence, turnover intentions and low levels of jobs satisfaction in addition to poor working conditions. This study sought to further investigate working conditions in the UK social workers, as well as the reasons for these working conditions via a mixed-methods survey and interview study. A total of 3,421 responses were gained from the cross-sectional survey which looked at working conditions, perceived stress, job satisfaction and turnover intentions (both migration and attrition), with the semi-structured interview schedule (n = 15) based on survey findings and analysed via thematic analysis continuing through to saturation. Similar to 2018, results demonstrated poor working conditions, irrespective of job role, and regression analysis suggested each of demands, control, managerial support, role and change influenced stress. Qualitative results found that workload, lack of managerial support and service user/family abuse were distinct demands associated with the role, whereas buffering positive resources were the social work role, peer support and positive managerial support. Implications for managerial practice, and harnessing the positive experience of peer support, are discussed.
- Mixed methods
- Working conditions