Social Work Awareness Month: Proper Compensation for Social Workers

March 08, 2024

Every March, we have the honor of celebrating Social Work Awareness Month. As one of the fastest growing professions, social workers exist within all facets of society. No matter the setting - whether it be schools, hospitals, or NGOs, social workers bring a unique perspective on what it means to provide care and advocate for the communities they work with. This year’s theme is Empowering Social Workers, as the NASW’s goal in 2024 is to amplify the need for improved pay in the social work profession

The inability to prioritize funding for so many social programs that impact the lives of thousands of vulnerable people shows that social workers are undervalued for the tireless work that they do, and those pushed to the margins still require much attention and advocacy. Without social workers, the prospect of a truly equitable society and its future as a whole would be severely compromised. Below are some recommendations from NASW and other state chapters to show legitimate appreciation for our social workers, maintaining the integrity of the profession as a whole: 

The last few years have heightened our awareness of how social workers are constantly at the forefront in tackling major societal challenges. For those working in schools, the job has proven to be increasingly difficult for a multitude of reasons. Social workers and educators are struggling to manage day-to-day operations and are ill-protected from changes in federal and state funding, greatly affecting their ability to do their jobs. We have seen the impact of this fiscal uncertainty with Mayor Eric Adams’ recent announcement to cut the salaries of 450 social workers and many more working in homeless shelters and several community organizations. 

While the salary issue for social workers cannot be solved immediately, we must start somewhere. A commitment to proper compensation will require continuous pressure on decision makers as well as sharing stories of the social work profession and those who choose to join this field. Their extraordinary and deeply necessary work is too rarely celebrated, so make sure to thank a social worker this month; many are hidden in plain sight.