Social Workers in Romania. Results from the First Study of Registered Social Workers
After being banned for more than 25 years during communist regime, social work education was re-established in Romania in 1990 after the fall of the Iron Curtain. There have been 20 generations of social workers, being estimated that more than 35,000 graduated one of the 23 universities offering social work training nationwide, but no study was carried out on the characteristics of this workforce. As other studies have underlined (Barth, 2003; Dedoussi et al., 2004; Facchini & Lorenz, 2013; Flores et al., 2012; McCormack, 2001) to describe the workforce of social workers a professional organization is the most reliable source of data gathering and the most legitimate.
Administrative data of 4607 social workers registered until June 2014 in the National Register of Social Workers held by the National College of Social Workers of Romania were analysed.
The profile of Romanian social worker is: female (88%), aged 36, working in public social services (75%), for more than 3 years and being trained in one of the main university centres in Romania. Almost a quarter of them graduated faith-based universities (mostly Orthodox). The main domains where social workers are employed are: General Directorates for Social Work and Child Protection (at county level), Public Social Work Services (at city/local level), child protection, faith-based/religious organisations, health and disability. Only 1% are in private practice and 20% work in non-profit organisations, while 3% are unemployed. While the majority are employed as social workers, there continue to be some administrative positions where social workers are to be found, such as inspector, counsellor, referent or civil servant.
The high employment rate in the public sector makes social workers vulnerable to political decisions and public budgetary cuts in austerity times. Research may serve in advocacy campaigns for better positionning of the professional organisation.