Back from the Ashes of Communism: The Rebirth of the Social Work Profession in Romania

Florin LazCrossed D Signr, Elizabeth Lightfoot, Mihai Bogdan Iovu, László Csaba Dégi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The profession of social work in Romania was re-established in the early 1990s after being completely abolished for three decades during the communist period. This article reports findings from the first national survey of Romanian social workers, which studied characteristics of social workers and their roles, tasks and types of services provided. In addition, it explores how burnout, income and efficacy were associated with social workers' plans for leaving the profession or country. This study used a seventy-three-item online survey tool to collect data from 1,057 social workers from across Romania using a quota sampling strategy. Romanian social workers skewed young, female and from the Romanian ethnic group. Whilst Romania has a large rural population, social workers primarily practiced in urban areas. Social workers had fairly high levels of job satisfaction and feelings of self-efficacy, and were most likely to be working in child and family protection using direct practice methods. Over one-fifth of social workers indicated they were considering leaving the field in the next two years. Those with higher incomes had lower odds that they planned to leave the field within two years, whilst those with burnout had over twice the odds they planned to leave the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-356
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Florin Lazar was funded through a grant from the National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation of Romania, Project Number: PNII-RU-TE-2014 4-2322. Authors would like to thank Cosmin Goian, Luiza Vlaicu, Claudia Gageanu, Aida Boldeanu, Romelia Blejan and Doru Buzducea for their assistance to carry out the research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.


  • burnout
  • Eastern Europe
  • migration
  • post-communist
  • Romania
  • social workers
  • workforce


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