Labour markets, equality, diversity and exclusion

CESR research projects

Close the deal, fill the gap

Hazel Conley secured European Commission funding for this study of gender equality in a European context. In this work, CESR is collaborating with Queen Mary, University of London and research teams at the Universities of Verona in Italy and Silesia in Poland to assess the variables affecting the role of social partners in tackling the gender pay gap, comparing the three different national contexts. The ultimate aim of the project is to disseminate examples of good practice and to produce a set of guidelines that can usefully support trade unions, employers’ associations and companies, representing the final beneficiaries of the project, in the negotiation of arrangements on gender pay gap-related issues.

A socio-economic model of labour markets

Steve Fleetwood continues to pioneer critical realism in the social sciences through academic texts and journal contributions. He is completing a two volume book on labour markets. The first volume is a critical review of the current orthodox or mainstream, neoclassical or orthodox model of labour markets. The second volume will offer an alternative, heterodox, multi-disciplinary and non-mathematical model of labour markets.

Exploring the impact of social class on the experience of students in Bristol's two universities: The Paired Peers project

Harriet Bradley is the Principal Investigator for the Paired Peers (Phase 2) project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and entitled Paired Peers Moving On Up? This study, which has attracted considerable interest nationally among both academics and practitioners, builds on the first phase, which followed a cohort of students from UWE and Bristol University through three years of study. It is now tracing the careers of some 60 of the original cohort, now in their fifth year since commencing their degrees, in their transitions into the labour market and establishing adult independence. The project, running for three years, will focus on how the graduates' careers are affected by gender, class background and the institution where they studied. Harriet leads a team consisting of Richard Waller (Co-Investigator), Dr Vanda Papafilippou (Research Associate) and Laura Bentley (PhD student), all at UWE, along with Co-Investigators Dr Nicola Ingram (Bath University, Professor Ann-Marie Bathmaker (Birmingham University) and consultant Dr Tony Hoare (Bristol University).

The impact of work integrated learning on the development of career management competencies

Nick Wilton continues his research on graduate careers and employability and has collaborating with Denise Jackson, Edith Cowan University Melbourne. on research exploring the development of career management competencies and the impact of work-integrated learning on graduate attributes. This comparative research seeks to understand the impact of different forms of work-integrated learning on orientation to career and graduates' relative ability to navigate an increasingly complex and competitive graduate labour market.

Senior women: Careers, networks and work-life balance

Sue Durbin's research explores the experiences of women employed as senior managers in predominantly male-dominated organisations and the extent to which they are tokens in a male-dominated management structure. With Jenny Tomlinson at Leeds University, she has explored the relatively under-research area of women in part-time work at managerial level, explaining the labour market position of female part-time managers and comparing their employment experiences, career progression and networking while working full-time and part-time. Sue's research has also encompassed a study of the working lives and careers of senior men and women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) through interviews with senior scientists at the Meteorological Office and at Airbus. It examined transitions into full-time professional careers, mapping each job change and exploring any barriers or challenges faced by the interviewees.

Building a mentoring scheme to support professional women in aviation and aerospace

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding won by Sue Durbin was for a knowledge exchange partnership between UWE, the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Airbus - the project funding was matched by funding/in-kind contributions from the three partners. The team at UWE comprised Sue Durbin, Ana Lopes, John Neugebauer and Stella Warren. Based on findings from the research, the project team developed the alta online platform which was designed to encourage women into, and to stay in, the aerospace industry.  The alta launch was hosted at the prestigious RAeS Women in Aviation and Aerospace Annual Conference in London 31 October 2015.

Global economic crisis and corruption

Following his work on economic insecurity in transition in post-socialist countries, Artjoms Ivlevs continues to research the possible effects of the global economic crisis on individual corruption behaviour. Using data from the Life in Transition-2 survey administered in 2010 in 30 transition economies, the research finds that the adverse effects of crisis on household well-being, such as job loss of a household member, wage reduction or fall in migrant remittances, are associated with a higher probability of contacting public officials and paying bribes, the victims of crisis are more likely to pay bribes because public officials ask them to do so and less likely out of gratitude. Overall, the results suggest that (I) crisis victims pay a double price in terms of lower material well-being and the expense of a bribe, and (ii) a fall in material well-being leads to a higher incidence of corruption at individual level.

Reconceptualising the relationship between employment and mental health

In his doctoral research, Dom Page examined the labour market experiences of 60 people with mental health disabilities through in-depth semi-structured interviews, contextualised by data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The study revisited the relationship between mental health and employment, applying a social model of disability in place of the medical model that understands higher rates of unemployment and under-employment for disabled people as rational (they are impaired and inherently less employable). Dom's research provided clear quantitative and qualitative evidence of economic exclusion and the findings have supported follow-on research. First was research on work and well-being, in collaboration with the South West Health Workplace Strategic Alliance, The project provided support and analysis of the South West regional strategy in the NHS emerging from consultations between employers and trade union representatives. It was supported by government funding after the Black Report  and outcomes included clear criteria for a challenge fund for local organisations to support workplace health strategies. Second was research funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that investigated employment transitions, poverty and the impact of a disability. This formed part of the Foundation's Future of the UK labour market programme, which, in partnership with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, explored the links between skills, job progression and poverty and ways to help specific groups of workers and jobseekers.

Casualised staff in higher education

Given the widespread use of casualised contracts in the workplace, it is no surprise that there has been increasing concerns about the potential impact of job insecurity on employee behaviour. Jenny Chen, working with Ana Lopes, has been researching job insecurity, well-being and withdrawal behaviour among employees on casualised contracts in UK universities. This study intends to contribute to the literature on stress by considering simultaneously two distinct routes through which job security may influence employees withdrawal behaviour and well-being. One of the implications of this study is that universities that depend on casualised contracts should be aware of the potential negative impact on staff well-being, turnover and work engagement.

Contact details

Bristol Business School
University of the West of England
Frenchay Campus
Coldharbour Lane
Bristol, BS16 1QY
Tel: +44 (0)117 32 83435


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