Elena Aleksandrovna Smirnova is Post-graduate Student at Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (Far Eastern Branch).
The article raises questions of prestige of "social work" as a profession. A sociological survey has been carried out which resulted in the following: confirmation of the basic opinions re profession of the social worker characteristic of the Khabarovsky krai population as well as the clarification of the population's level of awareness of the activities sustained by the establishments which form the system of social security institutions; the reasons why people fail to contact social services are analyzed. The author ponders on the level of competence typical of social work experts.
Key words: social work, prestige, professional prestige, image, professionalism, professional competence, social role, awareness of the population, status, stereotype, dynamics of prestige.