Social workers and unemployment: Factors associated with using employment-promoting practices in Israeli Municipal Departments of Social Services

Lia Levin, Noga Sefati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Unemployment is a harsh social phenomenon with far reaching negative implications. Unemployed individuals often seek assistance from social workers working in Municipal Departments of Social Services around the world. However, little to no research exists on the factors involved in social workers’ choice to engage in employment-promoting practices (EPP). The current study aimed to tackle this gap of knowledge, providing initial conclusions about the relationship between social workers’ attitudes towards unemployment, their knowledge regarding EPP, the extent to which they perceive their organisations as endorsing EPP and their actual implementation. The main research question dealt with the extent to which each of the examined factors, in itself or in combination with others, would be the best predictor of social workers’ utilisation of EPP. The study sample consisted of 163 social workers in Israel with varied experience in working with the unemployed, all working in public sector social services. Structural equation modelling performed on the attained data revealed that knowledge, skills and perceived organisational endorsement of EPP were positively associated with implementation of EPP. Contrary to the hypothesised, attitudes towards unemployment were not associated with the implementation of such practices. At the same time, professional training and seniority were associated with EPP only through the mediation of perceived organisational endorsement. Ultimately, perceived organisational endorsement of EPP emerged as the most influential factor involved in social workers’ decision to carry out EPP with their service-users. Consequences of these findings for social work education, supervision, research and policy making are discussed, referring to the local Israeli context as well as its possible international inferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-694
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Keywords

  • attitudes
  • employment promotion
  • practice in social work
  • public social services
  • social work and social care
  • unemployment

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