Is There Really a Problem with Hiring Rural Social Service Staff? An Exploratory Study Among Social Service Supervisors in Rural Minnesota

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Social Work


A convenience sample of rural-based social service supervisors was surveyed using an exploratory design to investigate problems associated with hiring and retaining rural social service staff. Findings suggest that geographic distance from standard metropolitan statistical areas predicts an increase in difficulty of hiring. Evidence also suggests that there is a preference for hiring degreed social workers, and the educational level of staff hired differs significantly from the educational level of workers that supervisors stated they would prefer to hire. Additionally, supervisors were asked open-ended questions about successes and challenges of hiring workers. The responses suggested that supervisors prefer to hire employees who are familiar with rural environments. Hiring challenges cited were lack of qualified applicants, low wages, and rural agencies being used as employment "stepping stones."

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Families in Sociey