Student profiles

Our students work on a wide range of research within the field of work and inequalities.

Find out more about what's happening at the Institute through the work of our researchers:

Jacob Boult

Division: People, Management and Organisations
Supervisors: Arjan Keizer and Jill Rubery

Thesis title: Variety in capitalism and experiences of precarious-flexible work in Britain and Germany.

Variety in capitalism in this project refers to institutional differences in regulations and buffers, and that capitalism is a common system across these differences. The bearing of this on experiences of precarious-flexible work will be explored through narrative interviews with workers in temporary agency, fixed term, and variable hours work across four cases within manufacturing and services in the UK and Germany

Sajia Ferdous

Division: People, Management and Organisations
Supervisors: Jill Rubery and Jenny Rodriguez 

My research explores the opportunities and challenges faced by older women in the labour market in the Greater Manchester area. The study adopts an intersectional lens that brings together gender, age, race, class and religion to examine the impact of turning points as well as the role of their self-agencies in navigating work transitions in their life courses. In particular, the study will focus on some of the stereotypical age discriminatory attitudes by the employers (e.g. job intensification, long working hours, balancing between work and care responsibilities at home, ill health conditions etc.) and the support that these women seek and receive in order to overcome those challenges.

The study uses semi-structured narrative interviews with British White women and non-white Asian Muslim women aged over 50 who are in routine or low skilled occupations according to standard classifications and/or unemployed/inactive but under pressure to find employment. This group is of importance because a key aspect of these women’s needs for more flexible employment conditions has been consistently undermined, forcing many of them to accept poorer working conditions, lower rates of pay and lower status jobs, which is, to a large extent, the result of persistent occupational segregation in the labour market and nonlinear career paths throughout their life courses. Furthermore, with changes in the state pension age, these women are also being expected to extend their working lives and understanding how they re-think/plan their work/career following these changes is crucial, for, these will help making sense of how things play out for the labour market in Greater Manchester considering the ageing population. This research, therefore, significantly contributes in unearthing the nuances related to the inequalities of gender, age, race, class and religion coming together and impacting women’s lifelong work experiences.

Eva Herman

Division: People, Management and Organisations
Supervisors: Jill Rubery, Gail Hebson and Silvia Galandini

My research investigates how employers use existing gender divisions and notions of reproductive labour to shape particular forms of employment, leading to specific forms and dimensions of precarious work. The way precarious work is shaped, and its interplay with gender leads to heterogenous forms of work and degrees of insecurity. The study is of increased importance taking place in the midst of political and social change.

Mixed methods approach will be taken to explore how precarious work is shaped and experienced at institutional, employer, individual and household level. Greater Manchester will form the site of study. This is a region where recent austerity cuts and benefit changes are empirically seen to have an adverse effect on workers. Alongside this, this area forms part of the devolution project, with which comes a push for new investment and the development of a new Employment Charter; which are seen to have the potential of changing employment relations. Quantitative analysis of labour market statistics will map and categorise dimensions of precarious work. Additionally changes in benefits and employment regulation will be investigated and their impact of employment patterns. This data will help select the sites (in Greater Manchester) for qualitative research which will be participant lead and experiment with co-production. Focus groups will be held with two distinct groups of women, capturing those who experience multiple dimensions of precarious work, this will frame the further investigation and further continuum of precarious work. Interviews with employers will be held to discuss their employment strategies, to explore how these create employment characterised by different dimensions of precarity and its gendered dimension. Workers will be interviewed to explore their choices of precarious work and whether these intersect with those of employers. Finally, through the use of diary studies impact and choices of precarious work and benefits will be explored at the household level.

My research will endeavour to contribute to understandings of interplay of precarious work with gender and class and the role of employer strategy in these processes. There has been a growth of interest in precarious work in recent years. The concept of precarious work itself is ‘fuzzy’.

Marilena Pagoni

Division: People, Management and Organisations
Supervisors: Anthony Rafferty and Tony Dundon

Thesis title: Exploring the effects of discrimination, bullying and harassment on employee engagement in Europe: cross-national differences in employee voice.

My research focuses on workplace discrimination, bullying and harassment across Europe and the impact of such negative experience on employee engagement. It is a comparative analysis of European countries and institutions, using international representative data. Explaining negative workplace social experiences cross-nationally will help us draw valuable conclusions about employment relations that could inform policies adopted by European bodies and institutions.


Lee Stringer

Division: People, Management and Organisations
Supervisors: Tony Dundon and Stephen Mustchin

Thesis title: Tech workers across distinct evolving work contexts: a study of the challenges and tensions.

The purpose of this study is to understand the work and employment challenges and tensions, from the expansion and evolution of (web-based) digital labour platforms (DLP) for tech workers and management who work and manage through DLPs.  

There is more information here.

Fernanda Teixeira

Division: People, Management and Organisations
Supervisors: Debra Howcroft and Tony Dundon

Thesis title: Gender Lens on the Future of Work:  A case study of domestic work in the gig economy in Mexico.

My study aims to analyse the impacts of the gig economy on working relationships and working conditions for female domestic workers. In this vein, through an empirical analysis of on-demand platforms, this research will examine whether gender-based inequalities such as abuse, violence and discrimination at the workplace are being reinforced and reproduced in the gig economy.

Susanna Whawell

Division: People, Management and Organisations
Supervisors: Jill Rubery and Colette Fagan

Thesis title: Toxic Leadership and Taxonomies of the Glass Cliff – Why Women Choose not to Join the Board

Glass Cliff Theory holds that women are manoeuvred into untenable leadership positions, destined to fail. This research explores the precursor situations of a Glass Cliff scenario examining the role of toxic leadership in creating the conditions for a Glass Cliff, and the responses of female senior executives who choose not to accept the poisoned chalice of an untenable leadership position.

Joanna Wilson

Division: Social Statistics
Supervisors: Emma Banister and Wendy Olsen

Thesis title: Flexible working and the household division of labour

My research uses survey and interview data to explore how the use of flexible working affects the paid and unpaid (i.e. housework and childcare) work of UK couples with children.  Identifying the influence of work flexibility on these couples matters because to accomplish gender equality in work and family roles it is important that both members of a couple are able to make work changes so that they can be involved in family life.  After having children, women typically tend to work part-time in paid work and bear the brunt of the unpaid work while men tend to continue to work full-time, bearing the brunt of the paid work.  Increasing the paid work of mothers and the unpaid work of fathers is deemed to be an important element of closing the UK gender pay gap.

The survey data come from the Understanding Society panel survey, a large-scale survey that is designed to be representative of UK households.  The interview data come from a series of individual interviews I will hold with participants in Scotland and will provide insights into the quantitative findings.  

My PhD is a CASE studentship funded by the Economic and Social Research Council through the North West Doctoral Training Centre.  I am also supported by Close the Gap, a Scottish charity which works with policymakers, employers and employees to influence and enable action to address the causes of women’s inequality at work.

Abbie Winton

Division: People, Management and Organisations.
Supervisors: Debra Howcroft and Jill Rubery

Thesis title: A gendered analysis of sociotechnical change on retail employment in the UK.

My project aims to investigate the ways in which gendered processes of sociotechnical change are shaping work in the UK retail sector. This considers the ways in which men and women working in retail experiences the changes differently, how gendered perceptions of technology shape these experiences and how this feeds into wider debates surrounding the future of work.