This research explores the working conditions of social workers around the globe, using a mixed-methods approach. A survey of working conditions and wellbeing was distributed to social workers via email and social media. Results subsequently informed the interview schedule for individual semi-structured interviews with social work leaders from across the world. Results confirm that social workers have among the most difficult working conditions of all equivalent professions, with detrimental effects on services for individuals and communities due to burnout and retention. Suggested solutions include legal recognition of the social work profession, improved management support and better pay and conditions.