The expected working life of a social worker

Lesley Curtis, Jo Moriarty, Ann Netten (2010)

British Journal of Social Work 40 5 1628-1643

Available online: 1 April 2009

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.