Forum: Give social work profession the respect it deserves

Earlier this month, Nee Soon GRC MP Carrie Tan, in a Facebook post, noted that she had filed a parliamentary question on why only degree holders are allowed to become social workers. I was not surprised to see her post receive a lot of attention.

Which profession does not want respect and dignity, especially after it has put in so much effort to justify pay increments and recognition over a long period of time?

Up until recent years, there were still members of the public who mistakenly equated social workers with volunteers, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development had to create posters in 2019 educating the public on the differences between the two.

For many generations, professions such as nursing and social work have been associated with compassion, passion, empathy and having a good heart. Some even refer to such professions as "a calling".

Isn't it interesting that lawyers and doctors, who also belong to professions that help people, are not typically described in the same way?

It may be true that many of us decided to join the field due to reasons such as religion.

However, like any other career choice, job satisfaction is crucial in keeping employees going in the long term.

There needs to be a shift away from associating social work with altruism. It is a career we have chosen, which is meant to earn income for us and our families.

It is natural that we want to do well and be successful in our career, and be recognised for doing so. Isn't that what every professional would hope for?

Yeow Beng Zhen

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