What Are The Top Issues That Social Workers Face?

The complexity of the human condition has never been more challenging. Many of the difficulties being experienced are out of the scope of individual control, creating greater feelings hopelessness. The responsibilities of today’s social worker are more involved than ever before and require up-to-the moment education – such as what can be gained through an online social work degree. To achieve true success in the field, social workers need to fully understand the prevalent issues of current times.

Top Five Social Worker Issues

Economic Decline

Individuals who once had good jobs and decent paychecks are finding themselves visiting food pantries or living in shelters. Social workers employed with various community and family service organizations are seeing a greater number of clients in perilous situations. Without a sustainable living wage and a strengthening economy to support employment growth, many will continue to look to social work agencies as their only safety net.

An aging population is one of the top issues in social work

Aging Population

In a time when they should be enjoying the fruits of their labor, seniors are facing the dual challenges of economic downturn and declining health. Social workers who specialize in helping older clients are tasked with sharing financial strategies, along with other more typical support services. Future generations may be worse off, as Medicare and Social Security face funding deficits that could render those entitlements obsolete.


Online communities, like Facebook, have extrapolated the effect that bullies can have on their victims. Social workers in the school environment are especially aware of the impact of bullying on their young clients. Feelings of ridicule and worthless can lead to self-harm and even suicide. However, bullying is not restricted to childhood and adolescence, and can escalate into the workplace or family home in the form of harassment, child abuse, sexual exploitation and more.


Technology is a two-fold subject. There is the aspect of technology as it relates to aberrant behavior in clients, particularly in terms of online addictions. The other dynamic is the use of workplace technology by social workers themselves. Electronic documentation for diagnosis and coding has become a requirement that takes many professionals out of their comfort zone.

Client management is a major problem for today’s social worker

Client Management

Beyond client-facing issues there are other factors that affect the social worker as a person and a professional. Stress is at the top of the list and is inherent to the nature of the work. It can be hard to separate work from life, especially in smaller communities where clients and social workers may cross paths outside of the workplace.There can be work-related stresses that come along with the profession, such as heavy workloads and difficulty with clients and their situations.


Are you ready to help individuals that need your help? The University of New England offers a Masters of Social Work Online program to prepare people like you to help others.

Learn more about our program with a free brochure!