Service with a Heart - A Career in Social Services
Updated: Mar 23
What is it like to be a social worker?
Every beating heart is a heart that needs to be listened to. Social workers listen wholeheartedly to clients they interact with and everyday is a new opportunity to serve.
Every phone call, email or text is like a knock on the door that needs help or a listening ear. Social workers understand that it is not easy for people to ask for help and many voluntarily go above and beyond what they are expected to do and serve with a heart.
In this article, we talk about careers in social services and what it takes to be a social worker.
What does it take to be a social worker?
1. You need more than just a big heart and lots of patience - Social workers need to go through many hours of training, studies and examinations to get accredited.
2. You have to put the client’s needs above your own - there may be no work-life balance, and we may have to forgo self-interest for the clients’ interest. For instance, many interactions happen in the evenings and at night. Social workers frequently have to balance their work and personal lives.
3. You have to be able to emotionally compartmentalise - Verbal abuse and threat can be very common. Clients tend to blame social workers when they cannot get what they want. The ability to cope professionally is important.
4. You need to be prepared and ready - Without the readiness in their personal commitment to the job, it will be very tough.
Current situation of social services in Singapore
The industry has long been facing a shortage of workers and problems in retaining workers due to issues of long hours, emotionally draining work and low pay.
A report by the Straits Times in August 2021, indicated that the demand for social services is expected to grow in the coming years and the sector's workforce will expand in tandem as Singapore's population ages rapidly. However, locals shun jobs in Singapore’s service sector and the gap has to be plugged by foreigners.
Why you should consider a job in social services
Nevertheless, the demographics of the workforce is changing. Younger workers joining the workforce increasingly want a job that not only grows them professionally, but also touches lives.
Social Workers make a positive impact to improve the quality of life of individuals, families and communities. They are instrumental in empowering people to overcome their struggles in issues such as poverty, substance abuse and access to care.
Demand for Social Workers is also expected to grow as the population in Singapore ages.
Jobs in social services are looking better and more attractive now with social service organisations looking at other ways to attract and retain talent, including flexible work arrangements and additional paid leave. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) have also revised the salary guidelines for the sector across all professions and job levels in an announcement on 3rd March 2023 where salaries for social service sector are to increase by between 4% and 15%.
With these new initiatives in place, workers with a passion to serve no longer need to accept low salaries in exchange for their passion for serving, making the sector a lot more attractive for potential entrants.
Looking to expose your students to a potential career in social service?