Social work involves helping individuals, groups or ­communities, enhancing and restoring their capacity to function within a society. It deals with issues of social change, social justice and human rights. Most institutes offer a two-year professional programme (at the PG level) that equips students to work on issues related to inequality and injustice.
“Social work, however, is very different from the way people perceive it. It is not ­charity work. If one is serious about volunteering or ­getting engaged as a full-time professional with a development organisation, he will have to invest more than his free time.
Compared to other fields, the development sector is more ­challenging. The desire to help others definitely makes one inclined towards the sector, but to excel in the area of work, he/she needs to possess the necessary expertise and professionalism,” says Santanu Mishra, co-founder and executive trustee, Smile Foundation.
In India, a person holding a degree in bachelor’s (BSW) or masters (MA in social work/MSW) degree in social work is eligible to become a professional social worker. Being an ­inter-disciplinary field it also includes qualified personnel from the field of ­economics, education, sociology, medicine, philosophy, politics, ­anthropology, and psychology.
Key skills required for the job include commitment, flexibility, able to cope with traumatic situations, problem solving attitude and analytical skills.
Public sector organisations, corporate bodies and development organisations hire social workers. More jobs are coming up in areas like healthcare and education.
According to Mishra, with corporate social responsibility having received a push through the Companies Act, 2013, the sector is becoming popular among jobseekers.
“Companies have launched new CSR activities or scaled up existing ones, leading to fresh career opportunities. Going by the current industry trend, the demand for professionals in this field is going to increase in the coming years and the sector is likely to see at least 50,000 more job opportunities in the next one year,” he says.
Contributing to society
Social workers have to give individual attention to people they are trying to help. Relationship skills are important
Rs. I take home
At entry level, a person can earn Rs. 20,000 per month and Rs. 50,000 at the senior level
I love my job because...
You achieve satisfaction because your job involves improving the lives of others
With the sector getting organised, it is becoming a popular career choice among the youth. Public sector undertakings, corporate bodies and development organisations hire social workers in large number