Pay Equity for Social Workers
When employers recognize the value of SOAR case workers and coordinators by offering them equitable salaries, the benefits go beyond the individual case worker.
March marked the occasion to celebrate the contributions of all women and their historical impact within the United States and abroad. On March 24, 2021, the National Committee on Pay Equity observed Equal Pay Day, a symbolic commemoration dedicated to raising awareness of the gender pay gap. In the United States, this date symbolizes how far into the year the average woman must work to earn what the average man earns in the previous year regardless of experience or job type.
Impact on SOAR
With women being the majority of case workers in the field, both of these observances bear on the state of SOAR staffing. When employers recognize the value of SOAR case workers and coordinators by offering them equitable salaries, the benefits go beyond the individual case worker. Fair compensation may also help with staff retention and ultimately increase the sustainability of SOAR work.
The National SOAR Outcomes Report 2020 relates that the average annual salary for dedicated SOAR benefits specialists (as reported by 13 states) was $40,800. Salaries for SOAR staff ranged from $28,000 to $65,000, depending on the local cost of living and staff expertise. However, according to the job site Indeed, the average salary for a case worker is $45,684 per year in the United States (based on 1.2k salaries reported, as of March 11, 2021). The difference between these averages leaves ample opportunity for hiring practices to take into account the specialized training involved in effectively doing the work of a SOAR case worker and make way for more equitable salaries for SOAR providers across the country, actively redressing one small part of the gender pay gap in the process.
The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center believes that pay equity between individuals doing the same work is an essential principle of fairness and that those individuals should be compensated equally without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, marital status, immigration status, or physical ability.
For more information on the recommended hiring practices for SOAR case workers, please review the Hiring and Supervising SOAR Case Workers: A Toolkit for Managers and Leads. This toolkit provides information for SOAR program managers who are hiring and supervising SOAR case workers. It discusses skills and key competencies that are commonly looked for in SOAR case worker candidates. Tools include helpful considerations for posting SOAR case worker positions, the interview process, and unique ways to evaluate the key competencies of a SOAR case worker.