Real World Clinical Blog: Negotiating Salary, Negotiating Worth

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Charles Franklin

Good points in the article. As helpers, money can seem like a "dirty" word.The reality is, in my opinion that money is a neutral resource. It's what we believe & what we do with that money that makes it a good or bad decision. On the other hand, social workers have been traditionally underpaid for lots of reasons:
1. The clients they work for. Typically, social workers work with clients, on purpose, that have less money and less access to money.
2. The values associated with clients. Clients that many social workers work with are often seen as having "something wrong". As a result, they are deemed as less value, in every sense of the word.
3. The funding mechanisms. Social workers often work in non-profits and/or government which is more fickle when it comes to paying for the clients mentioned in the second point above. As a result, they may have to rely on grants and donations to keep going. This is OK, but other mechanisms can and should be developed.

This has led social workers to joke about "not going in this for money". I believed that for a long while, but now I'm starting to disagree with that belief. Social workers should not take "low funding" for granted. Their work is just as valuable in the short and long-term as any other occupation, so why shouldn't they accept low funding. I'm not saying there should be a "Social Work Millionaires" reality TV show, but i do believe that we should be more creative and less apologizing for using money to help clients, invest in their own lives (might help with the turnover, and build a better world!

Charles Franklin more than 6 years ago

Social work pay

I agree with points raised. I have a point to add. I believe that as social workers are mostly and historically female there is a giant issue round gender pay inequality. If this was a male dominated field I believe the pay may not be quite so low nor carry the stigma of a 'helping profession' which allows us to be valued so cheaply.

C. Murphy more than 6 years ago

About Real World CSW

Dr. Danna Bodenheimer is the author of Real World Clinical Social Work: Find Your Voice and Find Your Way and On Clinical Social Work: Meditations and Truths From the Field. She shares practice wisdom with new clinicians.