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5 minute read

5 Myths About Working in the Social Service Sector Debunked

Keen to join the social service sector, but unsure if it’s a good career decision? Make sure that you’re not falling for these common myths.

The social service sector is vital in addressing societal issues, supporting vulnerable populations, and creating a more inclusive and equitable society. Yet, in the realm where real-life heroes make a positive impact on the lives of others, misconceptions about working in this sector lurk in the shadows. 

Well, it’s about time these inaccurate assumptions get squashed! 

In this article, we embark on a myth-busting quest to separate fact from fiction – debunking the top five myths about working in the social service sector, with sharing from the National Council of Social Service (NCSS).

Five myths about working in the social service sector

Myth 1: Pay in social service is not competitive.

If you think social service professionals are starry-eyed martyrs who sacrifice everything in life, including their financial stability, for the greater good, think again. While the assumption may sound romantic, it is far from the truth. 

Social service professionals are not doing volunteer work – they are true blue professionals who are paid a competitive salary for the work they do. 

NCSS says: 

The social service sector conducts regular salary reviews according to established guidelines to determine competitive salaries for social service professionals. Published annually, the salary guidelines for the social service sector guide social service agencies (SSA) on how to pay their staff competitively, comparable to roles in other markets. SSAs are strongly encouraged to follow these guidelines and provide competitive compensation packages for their employees. 

Myth 2: Career options in social service are limited.

If you believe that the social service sector only offers the job role of a social worker, it’s time to do some proper research. The social service sector offers a myriad of job roles. With roles for adept communicators, strategic thinkers, and compassionate listeners, there’s a niche where your skills and passions align perfectly, allowing you to make a meaningful impact.

NCSS says:  

While the social service sector may not be as large as some other industries, it is an important and rewarding field that offers a variety of career options. The sector offers more than 30 diverse job roles spanning nine broad career fields.

Planning a career switch into the social service sector? Use CareersFinder, a new feature by MyCareersFuture and chart your path to a successful career with a simple quiz. Try it today!

Myth 3: There is limited career progression in social service.

Worried that working in the social service sector may lead to a dead-end in your career? It’s time to repaint that mental picture. Imagine it more like a winding path with opportunities to climb. With experience and continuous learning, you can step up into managerial roles, shaping both your career and the future of the sector.

NCSS says: 

The social service sector provides many career paths and opportunities for professional development. With a broad range of roles and responsibilities, individuals have numerous options to pursue their interests and passions. Moreover, training and development programs support professionals in advancing their careers. 

Individuals who wish to join or progress within the Social Service sector can use the Skills Framework (SFw) for Social Service to assess their career interests, identify relevant training programmes to upgrade their skills and prepare for the desired job roles. 

Read More: My Career Change: How and Why Social Service is Right for Me

Myth 4: Jobs in social service do not require qualifications. 

Think social service gigs are a qualification-free fiesta? Time to burst that bubble! While a heart of gold is a plus, it’s not the only ticket to the show. These champs often rock degrees and specialised badges that make them whizzes in their field. So, it’s not just warm fuzzies – it’s some serious brainpower too!

NCSS says: 

Social service professionals often hold degrees and professional certifications in disciplines such as social work, psychology, and therapy, to name a few. Individuals who are keen to join the social service sector can find out more about the education requirements and ways to get started at the Social Service Tribe website.

Read More: How and Why This Creative Director Became a Social Worker

Looking for a job in the social service sector? Check out thousands of openings on MyCareersFuture now!

Myth 5: There is no support for social service professionals in their work.

Nope, this myth’s about as sturdy as a sandcastle at high tide. In reality, the social service realm is all about teamwork and growth. They’ve got a team of supervisors, mentors, and available training opportunities for career development.

And hold onto your hats: SSAs do take the mental well-being of their staff seriously, giving them tools to bounce back from emotional hurdles. So, rest assured, these professionals don’t ride solo on the rollercoaster of challenges!

NCSS says: 

Helping others is no easy feat. There are training programmes are available to equip Social Service Professionals with the skills and knowledge needed, and leadership development schemes prepare them for leading roles in social service.

The physical, mental, and social well-being of social service professionals are equally important. There is support available for social service professionals through the Wellness Resource Hub

Not a myth: A rewarding career in social service 

Working in the social service sector promises an exciting yet meaningful career, so don’t write off this great opportunity over unfounded misconceptions!

For mid-careerists who are keen on making a career switch into the social service sector, WSG has Career Conversion Programmes (CCPs) with On-the-Job Training for the following job roles:

If you’re still deciding if working in the social service sector is the right one for you, register here to get advice from a career coach.

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