Social Studies in Human Behavior

Social Studies in Human Behavior Over the past few years, the number of community and social service workers has risen very sharply. This growth is attributable to the large increase in the range and intensity of social service needs, and the handling of a growing proportion of these needs by community organizations.

Since the community network is now well established, higher government spending in the health and social services sector should be more conducive to the hiring of members of other occupations and the number of income security claimants should continue to fall, the number of community and social service workers is expected to grow sharply over the next few years, albeit at a more moderate pace than before. Openings will arise first from job creation and from the need to replace community and social service workers who will be retiring or entering jobs in other occupations.

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In fact, with appropriate training, quite a large number of them will find positions in other occupations, for instance as social workers. Turnover is actually quite frequent within the occupation. For instance, many community and social service workers start their careers in community organizations, and move on after a few years to better paid positions in the public and par public sectors. These openings will go primarily to graduates of college and university programs related to social services and to individuals with experience of the social services sector (see Training section).

Other positions will be filled by unemployed experienced community and social service workers. Some positions are expected to be filled by immigrants who meet the requirements for entrance to the occupation.

Although the percentage of immigrants in this occupation in 2006 was slightly lower than in all occupations (8% compared with 12%), positions are accessible to newcomers. According to census data, in 2006 approximately 62% of community and social service workers worked in the health care and social assistance sector.

About 15% worked in public administration, primarily as income security program administrators, mainly in the provincial civil service, but also in municipal government. Another 14% worked in associations, especially civil and social organizations (8%) and social advocacy organizations (4%). Delivery of services in the social services sector is shared with members of many other occupations: social workers, psychologists, child care workers, family counselors, guidance counselors, etc. Moreover, over the past few ears employment growth has varied considerably depending on the type of organization responsible for delivery of social services.

Thus, while the number of people assigned to delivering social services in public and par public institutions grew, it rose much more sharply in community organizations. This strong increase stems among other things from the substantial investment by the provincial government in social economy enterprises, often specializing in services to specific clientele: women, children, the homeless, immigrants, etc.

Note that these organizations usually hire a higher proportion of community and social service workers than members of other occupations involved in the social services sector. To work in this occupation, candidates must like working with people, show creativity and have strong communications skills. They must also be able to work in teams and have the ability to analyze and solve problems.

Empathy, patience, active listening and emotional strength are the most sought-after qualities. Specialization in a specific field is an increasingly important asset.

To enter this occupation, it is generally necessary to have a diploma of college studies in social work technology, special care counseling or correctional intervention, or a Bachelor’s degree in a field related to social services, such as social work, social service, psycho education, psychology, criminology or sexology. Experience of the social services sector as a volunteer or even as a former beneficiary, such as a former drug addict, alcoholic or pathological gambler, may in some cases be accepted in lieu of the academic requirements.