Increasing our understanding of roles that are similar to social work

We would like to find out more about the people who are doing mahi that is the “same or substantially similar” to the mahi done by registered social workers. This is part of work that is underway on the rollout of pay equity for social workers. We want to build a better collective understanding of this workforce to help inform Ministers and agencies about this sector.

Usually, the work we do as SWRB focuses on social workers – those who are registered. This is both in our role as a regulator, but also as workforce planning lead for social workers within the government space. The work to increase our understanding of roles similar to social work is not connected to the SWRB’s regulatory functions.

You can find out more about the team and why we are undertaking this work below.

What do we want to know?

We want to understand:

  • Who is the workforce, what mahi are they doing, where and why?
  • What support do these professionals need?
  • What qualifications, skills and experience do these professionals bring to their role?
  • What barriers, if any, do people doing this mahi face to becoming further qualified and/or registered if that is what they want?
  • What mechanisms are in place to ensure safe practice?

Help inform our understanding

We would like to hear from you, your insights, experience and understanding of the different workforces in community and iwi organisations doing this valuable mahi. We are looking to capture this understanding from an organisational, employer and employee perspective.

Our previous online survey closed on 19 June.

Why are we doing this mahi?

The social work pay equity extension covers government contracted professionals who are not registered social workers, but who undertake work the “same or substantially similar to social work” – in roles where registration is not a requirement.

For further information on the social work pay equity extension, please see the Public Service Commission Extension of Pay Equity website.  

The SWRB sees this as an important opportunity to identify and recognise this workforce, and the communities they are working within, and acknowledge the valuable mahi these professionals are doing. Through this work we hope to build our understanding and help inform Ministers and government agencies about these roles and the contribution they make to the iwi, communities, whānau and people they work with. This is just one small piece of the puzzle, and other work is happening elsewhere in government where we can contribute.

Next steps

We are reviewing the feedback provided via our online survey which closed on 19 June 2023.

We will be connecting with community organisations and those expressing an interest in being involved in this work.

We will provide updates through this web page.

You may email the team at: