Theme and Rationale for Social Work Month 2024

People standing around smiling with their hands in the center

Empowering Social Workers!

Social Workers deserve better compensation for the important work they do

Our nation needs social workers more than ever.

Homelessness is on the rise. The opioid addiction crisis has hit the United States hard, impacting all races, regions, and economic levels. Suicide, too has risen, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Social workers are uniquely qualified to handle these societal troubles. Social workers enter the profession because they truly want to help others. They go through years of education, training, and supervision so they can do the delicate but important work of meeting people where they are and helping them achieve their goals.

Social workers are also trained to help individuals, families, communities, and even the larger society if regulations and laws must be changed in order to help people who need it. You will find social workers everywhere—in schools, hospitals, and at the federal, state, and local levels in government, corporations, social service agencies, veterans centers as well.

The demand for social workers is reflected in the statistics. Did you know that by 2030 there will be more than 782,00 social workers in the United States?. This makes social work one of the fastest growing professions in the United States.

However, social workers need support to meet the high demand for their vital work. That is why the Social Work Month theme for 2024 is Empowering Social Workers!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for social workers in 2022 was $55,350. Considering that in order to do their work many social workers must earn a master’s degree and go through the expensive process to gain licensure; this is not enough.

In fact, Ipsos did a National Social Work Public Opinion Survey that found that slightly more than half of respondents think social workers should get higher pay. Thirty-four percent neither agree nor disagree that social workers should be paid more and only 13 percent disagree with higher pay.

It is important for the public to support legislation and initiatives that empower and support the social work profession and improve their bottom line. This includes the Improving Access to Mental Health Act, student loan debt relief, and social work safety legislation.


Campaign Highlights

During Social Work Month, NASW will raise awareness of the social work profession and highlight the need for the government, regulators and employers to work to improve pay for social workers as a way in investing in addressing challenging social issues.

Here is how:

  • We will have a national, online conversation in March to discuss the reasons behind lower social work pay and how social workers can address this issue. This plan will lead to a larger campaign on the salary gap.
  • We will feature advice from social work influencers on areas of social work that offer higher salaries and how social workers can boost their salaries.
  • Social work and human resources experts will offer guidance on how social workers can negotiate higher pay.
  • NASW will offer an updated list of social work experts who can be interviewed by news organizations.
  • We will offer an online toolkit will include logos; suggested social media messaging; an official proclamation that highlights the role of social workers in improving our society; and a draft press release, news editorial, and letter to the editor. Social workers and their allies can use these materials to pitch stories about social workers to the media or share Social Work Month messaging in news outlets.
  • Merchandise: Our official vendor Jim Coleman LTD provides merchandise that can be used to promote the Social Work Month theme “Empowering Social Workers!”

For more information on the 2024 Social Work Month “Empowering Social Workers!” Campaign contact NASW Communications Director Greg Wright at gwright.nasw@socialworkers.org.



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