Centers and Institutes


 National Workforce Initiative

In spring 2015 the organizations that make up the Leadership Roundtable tasked an advisory committee with devising a national social work workforce study encompassing all levels and fields of practice. 

In recognition of the need for and importance of better data on the social work workforce, the National Workforce Initiative Steering Committee is guiding a major study of the social work workforce. 

A major component of the study was a survey of a sample of recent graduates of social work degree programs. Data were collected on the backgrounds of new social workers, the jobs they took, the services they provided, the populations they served, and their experience in the job market.

Social work programs that are interested in participating in the Workforce Study should contact Ed Salsberg ( 

2018 Survey of Graduates

The third report from the National Workforce Initiative, New Social Work Workforce: Results of the Survey of 2018 Social Work Graduates, will be released in March. Mark your calendar for a webinar on March 27 at 1:00 pm ET for a discussion with the researchers and report authors. 

A Discussion of the 2018 Survey of Graduates Report
March 27
1:00 pm–2:00 pm ET





WorkforceGradsThumbnail.png The second product of the workforce study was released in April 2018: New Social Workers: Results of the Nationwide Survey of 2017 Social Work Graduates. The report is an analysis of a survey of recent social work graduates, which was launched at the end of August 2017. The survey instrument addressed student demographics, employment, and perceptions of social work education and the job market. An executive summary of the report is also available.  
Workforce-Cover.jpg The first product of the National Workforce Initiative, Profile of the Social Work Workforcewas released in October 2017. The report includes the size, demographic and educational backgrounds, work settings, compensation, and geographical distribution of the workforce. The analysis presented uses existing data sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Community Survey, and the Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System. 

Data Briefs

In addition to the main survey reports, the National Workforce Initiative releases data briefs on specific topics. These briefs will be short reports on topics relevant to social work or social work education.

Workforce_Data_Brief_2018-cover-thumbnail_01.jpg A Comparison of In-Person and Online MSW Graduates
The number of social work students primarily receiving their social work instruction online has been growing over the past decade. This data brief compares the demographic and educational backgrounds, jobs taken, populations served, and job search experience of 2018 MSW graduates who primarily received their social work instruction in person compared to those whose instruction was primarily received online. Click here for a brief visual of the findings.

Access the A Comparison of In-Person and Online Master’s of Social Work Graduates data brief here.


Data Collection

Through an RFP process in fall 2016, the George Washington University Health Workforce Institute was selected by the advisory committee to conduct a study to enumerate the current social work workforce and to help design a system for ongoing collection and analysis of data. The study is composed of the following components:

  • Identifying and assessing existing data sources
  • Filling the most important gaps in data through a survey of new social work graduates
  • Designing and piloting data collection instruments for future expanded data collection
  • Recommending structures and processes for the ongoing collection and analysis of data

The National Workforce Initiative advisory committee organizational members are as follows:

  • American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare
  • Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors
  • Association of Social Work Boards
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work
  • National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Society for Social Work and Research

Contact Julie Rhoads with any questions about the National Workforce Initiative.

Generous funding for the Social Work Workforce Initiative has been provided by each of the advisory committee organizations and the University of Southern California.