This is a very common question I often hear. Newly qualified social workers could expect to earn from £22,000 per year and this could rise up to £40,000 per year as you take on additional tasks, gain responsibilities and experience.
Different Local Authorities do pay different amounts to newly qualified social workers and the closer you get to London the higher this may be. When looking for a newly qualified full time social worker role the job advertisement will provide you with a guideline of the pay expectancy. Depending on experience this can sometimes be negotiated.
Some local authorities may pay more if they have a new initiative for newly qualified social workers of if they have had a poor inspection. It is important to research into the local authority that you are going to apply for so that you are aware of such information.
A good tip is to also enquire about other benefits with working with the authority e.g. pension, annual leave, sick leave, etc. If you are looking at relocating some Local Authorities also offer relocation fees to new employees. At times I have been between two neighboring authorities and doing this helped me to make a decision based on job entitlement.
Some authorities will pay employee retention bonus’ to staff who have been employed full time/ part time for a set amount of time e.g. 2 years. This can also be a way for social worker to be valued and can heighten their job satisfaction. I am aware that this used to be quite common in social services but now I am only aware of a handful of local authorities who sill offer this incentive.
As your experience and time as a social worker increases so will your pay. In the first few years you will notice these changes on a regular basis (with me this was yearly) and then there are increments the longer you are with an authority.
As a newly qualified social worker I started on £22,500 and after completing my first year in practice and some further work this went to £25,500.
It is really important is to be aware of what the time frame/ responsibilities and expectations are for you to reach the next level/ stage. Keep on top of this and regularly review this with your manager or the appropriate person. It can be very common for this to be missed and it is your responsibility to keep on top of it.
After two and a half years from starting as a newly qualified social worker I was on £29,000. The local authority funded for me to go back to University to complete my Post Qualification. Which can also sometimes also increase your pay.
Please note that different authorities will have different pay scales. Each Local Authority you work with will have a pay scale that you can look at and see how your natural progression scale can take place.
It is also important to remember that different types of teams will pay different amounts e.g. in some cases you will get paid more if you are in a Child Protection Team completing lots of Court work. The more responsibility the higher the pay.
After this time there are not many pay increases except the yearly increment which can sometimes only be a few hundred pounds. This is where some people decide whether they want to become a senior practitioner. There are many other roles that social workers can progress too which includes; practice educator, assistant manager, independent reviewing manager, team manager, service manager, head of service to director etc.
When people have a few years experience they often consider becoming an agency social worker as the hourly rate is much higher however, there is less job security. This can also be an opportunity for social workers to work in different teams to heighten their experience within the Child and Family area. Some newly qualified social workers also choose to go straight to becoming an agency social worker.
If you are interested in becoming an agency social worker at any level please don’t hesitate to contact me for any information/ advice in this area. I have also written some other articles about being an agency social worker.
Alternatively if you want any support in finding a full time job opposed to an agency or if you want advice on the different roles please feel free to contact me with any questions.