Social Work is a field that requires great compassion and sensitivity in order to deal with people’s problems or needs on an individual level. If you plan to go into this profession then it would be good if you know how much exactly do they earn. The following list contains top ten countries where social workers get paid more than their counterparts from other parts of the world.
So let’s start! Here we go…
1. United States of America (USA) – $87K/year
The average annual income of social workers working as employed full-time in USA is around $83,000 per year. However, some states like New York have higher minimum wage requirements so your actual earnings may vary depending upon your state of employment. This figure includes both public sector and private sector jobs but excludes self-employment income.
2. Switzerland – $77K/year
According to PayScale data base, the median annual pay for social workers in Switzerland was estimated around $74,550 as of 2022. In comparison, the national average yearly salary of all occupations in Switzerland was $49,866.
Some of the highest paying specializations were case management ($79,500), counseling ($75,300), and mental health technician ($72,200). And one of the lowest paying ones was home support services ($46,400).
3. Luxembourg – $70K/year
As far as I know there isn’t any specific data about the average social worker salary in Luxembourg, however, according to a report by the Ministry of Labour, it seems that most of them earn less than 70k Euro per year.
On the other hand, many professionals in the healthcare industry usually receive much better compensation. For example, nurses can earn up to 100% extra compared to what social workers earn annually.
4. Canada – $66K/year
Although Quebec has its own provincial government which provides funding specifically to social workers, most provinces across Canada provide financial assistance to students who wish to pursue post secondary education in the field of social work.
According to Statistics Canada, the average hourly wages of social workers in Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon Territory, Nunavut Territory, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador averaged between C$21.98 and C$22.16 in 2022.
5. Germany – $62K/year
In Germany, social workers’ salaries range between €50,000-$71,700 per month. But since the cost of living here is quite high, only Germans residing within rural area tend to reach these figures.
One thing worth mentioning though, is that German municipalities often offer free accommodation to their employees. So you might want to check out whether German localities will help you cover housing costs.
6. Norway – $60K/year
It turns out that Norwegian social workers actually make slightly lower amount of money compared to those elsewhere in Europe. According to Statistic Norway, the average monthly salary of Norwegians working in social service institutions was NOK 13,900 ($17,600) in 2022.
These numbers seem low considering that almost half of Norwegian population lives below poverty line. On the other side, some European nations such as Finland and Sweden provide very generous benefits to their citizens.
It also should not be forgotten that pension system in Scandinavia is among the best in the world. Last but not least, it must be mentioned that even though Norway does not collect taxes directly from its residents, it still spends roughly equal amounts of GDP on different social programs as other wealthy Scandinavian countries.
7. Netherlands – $58K/year
In general, Dutch social workers earn significantly lower wages when compare to those in other developed countries. As aforementioned, the average social worker salary in Netherlands is approximately $54,000 per year.
Although the country aims to redistribute wealth through tax collection, it also devotes significant funds to various social programs that include universal child benefit, unemployment insurance, old age pensions, etc.
Another interesting fact is that unlike other Western European countries, Dutch have no compulsory retirement age. That means you could theoretically keep doing social work until you’re 90 years old!
8. UK – $57K/year
According to BBC news outlet, the median weekly gross salary of a social worker in England & Wales in 2022 was £15,630. Unfortunately, this number is rather misleading because it doesn’t take into account bonuses, overtime payment, etc.
What is known for sure is that the real incomes of social workers aren’t comparable to those earned by lawyers, doctors, dentists, engineers, etc. In addition, the majority of social workers in Britain work part time, meaning that they don’t always enjoy regular hours.
9. Australia – $56K/year
An Australian social worker earns somewhere between A$47,000-$85,100 every year. The biggest chunk goes to administrative staff followed by caseworkers and managers. By the way, did you know that in Australia social workers are called “community based officer” (CBO)? Nowadays CBOs mostly focus on providing direct client services while before they used to manage large teams of social workers. Other perks include long weekends, airfare reimbursement, etc.
10. Japan – $55K/year
Japanese social workers are considered to be well educated individuals with two bachelor degrees or above. They typically choose this career path due to strong desire to serve vulnerable groups and live off donations made by rich patrons. Japanese social workers earn on average $53,000 per year. Not too bad!
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