The State of the Social Service Workforce 2015 Report: A multi-country review

This report consolidates information from 2014 about the social service workforce (SSW) from a range of middle- and low- income countries in order to contribute to global, national, and local planning and advocacy for effective implementation of programs for children and families. This report sheds light on key social service workforce data and trends, showcases innovative and effective workforce strengthening initiatives, and highlights the need for more data and focus in this area. The report explores the diversity of the social service workforce, recognizing the variety of functions, titles, and types of education and training in both government and nongovernment work settings. By covering a variety of countries, the report captures unique elements specific to certain countries and also identifies some common challenges and trends evident across locations.

It is also important to highlight the notable limitations of this report. Currently no country covered in this report has a clearly identified central body that is tasked with gathering this range or type of SSW data. Few countries have systems to collect any type of uniform data on social service human resources across the multiple ministries and organizations that employ social service workers in a given country. Between and even within countries there are differences in ways that workers are identified and counted. This is in part due to the variety of job titles used across organizations working in the same country. In several countries, results of nation-wide mapping exercises and assessments on this workforce are available; however, varying methods of data collection present challenges when making comparisons across multiple countries.

This first annual report is envisioned as a first step among many other global, regional, and national efforts to better describe, depict, and analyze efforts to strengthen the social service workforce. As country-level workforce mapping expands, as more national governments implement human resources information systems (HRIS) for the social service workforce, as multi-stakeholder engagement leads to social worker registration or licensing systems, and as donors continue to develop and support implementation of measurement against workforce strengthening indicators, more data will become available. Future years’ reports will reflect an increasingly robust baseline of information, enabling clearer analysis of effective efforts to strengthen the workforce and stronger advocacy for improving the quality of care provided to children and families.

Published 2019-01-22