Work, employment & organisationLabour markets, skills & employability

Drawing on critical labour market studies, work sociology and work psychology, our research develops theory and informs evidence-based practice and policy in the areas of skills, employability, education and human resource development. We analyse changes in employment and industry restructuring, and consider how this may shape labour market disadvantage, reproduce social inequalities, and issues of skill utilisation, recruitment and retention.

Current projects

Horizon 2020, 2020-2022

Staff: Professor Tom Baum, Dr Kendra Briken, Dr Pratima Sambajee

This three-year project involves a consortium of 11 universities addressing social exclusion as a consequence of contemporary tourism-related mobilities in major European cities. The project aims to organise 8 City Labs to identify innovative structures, policies and governance to inform the design of alternative policy options for more socially inclusive places. The Strathclyde team contribution focuses on two key areas, changing urban labour markets, the growing gig economy in tourism and consequences for social exclusion and the development of Edinburgh as a case city, with an emphasis on festivalisation and social exclusion.

Selected publications

Baum, T. (2018). Changing employment dynamics within the creative city: Exploring the role of ‘ordinary people’ within the changing city landscape. Economic and Industrial Democracy, 0143831X17748371.

Robinson, R. N., Ritchie, B. W., Kralj, A., Solnet, D. J., Baum, T., & Ford, R. C. (2014). An Asia-Pacific core–periphery futures paradox: Divergent worker and tourist mobilities. Journal of Travel Research53(6), 805-818.

COVID-19: micro-tourism enterprise sustainability, support and revival after the pandemic

Staff: Professor Tom Baum, Dr Irma Booyens

Funding: Global Challenges Research Fund: Covid-19 Response Fund 2019/20

This study looks into the impact of COVID-19 on micro-accommodation establishments in South Africa. The emphasis of this research is on emergency business management: whether tourism enterprises have been able to sustain operations and adopt certain coping mechanism or strategies in response to the impact of the pandemic. We also consider related issues such as the impact of COVID-19 on employment, the long-term sustainability prospects of enterprises and the perceived effectiveness of government support measures.

This project is a collaboration with Prof. Chris Rogerson and Prof. Jayne Rogerson (School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, South Africa).

Employment Experience of Hospitality Workers in Scotland

Staff: Dr. Irma Booyens, Dr. Tasos Hadjisolomou, Prof. Tom Baum, Prof. Dennis Nickson

This is an online survey with workers in the hospitality sector with respect to harassment, workplace abuse and the impact of Covid-19 on their employment. The topic of the study aligns with the University of Strathclyde’s overall strategic focus on sustainability, particularly in terms of creating a ‘Fairer Society’ with an emphasis on gender-based violence, safety and wellbeing (see Vision 2025). Similar surveys have been rolled out in Ireland and New Zealand and we aim to do comparative work with colleagues in these countries which is of policy and management significance in the tourism sector. The project also links with the Department’s work on labour and workplace issues (see Research Theme: Regulation and Restructuring of Employment Relations).

Selected publications:

Booyens, I. (2020). Education and skills in tourism: Implications for youth employment in South Africa. Development Southern Africa

Booyens, I., Motala, S.Y. & Ngandu, S. (2020). Tourism Innovation and Sustainability: Implications for Skills Development in South Africa. In T. Baum and A. Ndiuini (Eds), Sustainable Human Resource Management in Tourism: African Perspectives (pp.77-92). Cham: Springer.

Staff: Dr Daria Luchinskaya

Project webpage:

Funding: Oxford Brookes Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice, Warwick Institute of Advanced Study Visiting Fellowships

This ongoing interdisciplinary mixed-methods project looks at the role of work placements undertaken during study in graduate transitions to employment from inclusive and interdisciplinary perspectives, using the UK and Italy as examples. We explore two broad questions: (1) how participation in and outcomes of different kinds of work placements taking place during higher education differ by characteristics such as gender and fields of study, and (2) how students experience their placements. We aim to situate graduate transitions to employment within national education and labour market systems, looking at the issue holistically from critical, institutional and interdisciplinary perspectives, identifying mechanisms of social disadvantage and highlighting the implications for students and graduates, employers, and policymakers.

Research Collaborators: Dr Charikleia Tzanakou (Oxford Brookes University), Dr Luca Cattani (University of Bologna) and Dr Giulio Pedrini (Kore University of Enna), with Dr Dorel Manitiu (AlmaLaurea)

Selected publications

Tzanakou, C., Cattani, L., Luchinskaya, D. & Pedrini, G. (forthcoming). How do internships undertaken during higher education affect graduates’ labour market outcomes in Italy and the United Kingdom? In A. Stewart, R. Owens, N, O’Higgins & A. Hewitt, Internships, Employability and the Search for Decent Work Experience. Geneva: International Labour Organisation.

Tzanakou, C., Cattani, L., Luchinskaya, D. & Pedrini, G. (2020). Access and Labour Market Outcomes of Internships During Higher Education in Italy and the United Kingdom. University of Bologna-AMS-Acta.


Research networks