Social services staff in Alberta say they are quitting for better paying and less stressful jobs available thanks to the province's economic boom.

Driving a delivery truck is a far cry from working with troubled kids, but Tony Micaleff said with seven children of his own at home, he had no choice but to quit his job as a child and youth care counsellor.

"It was just time to go," he said."The family was growing more and we just said we got to make some money."

Micaleff made $32,000 a year at a school for children with behaviour problems run by the Salvation Army Children's Village in Calgary.

"Driving truck I can average up to $60,000 a year. Just starting out, I make a thousand more a month."

Micaleff said social work is a stressful field and he knows of four other people who have recently quit for jobs where there is less pressure and better pay.

Four out of 10 quit in 2005

Todd Trimble, a family and youth support worker who has been in the business for 12 years, blames a lack of provincial funding for the revolving door.

"We get more experienced people leaving for higher-paying jobs. We get younger people leaving for the same reason," he said.

"I've kind of reached a point now where I almost can't afford it any longer."

The Alberta Council of Disability Services released a study in August that showed the staff turnover rate at its community agencies was 40 per cent last year. The report says if that doesn't change, more than 6,800 new employees will have to be recruited each year.

"Employees who remain must often work additional jobs in excess of 50 hours per week to earn enough income to support themselves and meet the basic needs of their families. This reality significantly impacts the quality of work and the quality of life of an increasing number of over-extended and over-stressed employees," according to the report.