Social Work as a career option and its future prospectsSocial work is a collaborative profession bounded by the values of social justice, integrity, competence, importance of human relationships and dignity and worth of a person. Conceptualizing social work profession revolves around the practice to empower disadvantaged, marginalized and oppressed groups and individuals and at the same time enhance their social functioning. Social work as a profession undertakes a moral, ethical and legal responsibility to help groups or individuals find solutions to the difficulties and challenges experienced by them. It takes forward the tasks of endorsing people’s human rights’ concerns and issues pertaining to social injustice. Social work as a career is being increasingly adopted by individuals with the urge to contribute to the welfare of the society. Those passionate to work with the people, engaging in welfare activities and resisting oppression are looking toward social work as a career path. Social work is a career path which offers an individual the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people. It opens a plethora of opportunities to engage in public discourses and strengthen communities. The experiences this profession has to offer are diverse in nature and the professionals get to witness the interconnection between social evils and widespread poverty in the country by working at grass roots. A professional social worker being sensitive towards human emotions and behavior, understands the complexities of multiple realities that people live across. Exploring a career in social work requires a person to work with perseverance and determination. Social workers believe in helping people find their strengths. They believe in the collective responsibility in figuring out how to make change happen.The scope of Social Work as a career extends from clinical social work to social planning and policy making. What lies in between includes forensic social work, social work in healthcare, school social work, social work in industries and corporate sector. Social workers can specialize as counsellors, child welfare officers, social welfare officers and even as labor welfare officers. Social work practice is often scaled at three levels, micro, mezzo and macro with considerable overlap between the three. At micro level, social work career opportunities extends to individual and family levels. At macro level it extends to social change, social action, and moreover driving change in systems with the help of government or nonprofit organizations. At mezzo level, it spans across the groups falling in between the micro and macro levels, which include neighborhoods, support groups etc. As the orientation of social work education moved from welfare to development, it has encountered an exceptional change. Radically new approaches and fields have been explored for social workers to adopt in theory and practice. With the changes observed in the structure of the society, stemming of new social issues with the advancement of technology, the prospects of social work as a profession are beaming. The transitions happening in the society open new vistas of exploration for academicians to study and research.The inclination of organizations towards hiring professional social workers to tackle the issues of burnout and stress, specifically in IT sector is very much noticeable. Also, with issues in inter personal relationships and growing awareness on mental health issues including depression, it is tangible that everybody is going to need a social worker once in their life.Social entrepreneurship is another growing phenomenon which social workers are tapping to exhibit their skills and potentials. This is an emerging area for social work professionals, which has immense scope to enhance its prospects with public and private investments. Community development, youth mobilization, individual and community wellbeing remain areas of boundless work for social work professionals. The expansion of schemes and programs of the governments on education, women empowerment, and opening of half way homes underlines the need for qualified social work professionals. An emerging area of employment for social workers is Corporate Social Responsibility with effect of the Companies Act 2013, which states that every company has to spend at least 2 per cent of its average net profits for directly preceding three years on social welfare activities. Corporate houses offer better wages, exposure, brand name, which is attracting a lot of professional social workers.  Another area which often remains the topic of contestation is social activism. The focus of the state is to globalize the economy with the obsession of profit making. In this it is leaving its responsibilities towards social development. The government spending is far too little on the social sector. Social work professionals and organizations have been challenging the state in this highlighting the scope for advocacy, social action as different fields of social work profession. In the current environment of communal (dis)harmony and polarized atmosphere prevailing in the country today, social work professionals are required to play an important role to reiterate the fundamentals of secularism, socialism, sovereignty and democracy in the country.When Malala, the Noble Peace Prize winner recently at World Economic Forum expressed her interest to work for girls’ education in India, the potential for social work practice in the country was further highlighted. In India’s quest for development, there is a greater hope for the social work profession.

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