Postgraduate research opportunities Employment protection & firm-level employee layoffs


Key facts

  • Opens: Monday 29 January 2024
  • Deadline: Wednesday 3 April 2024
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Funding: Home fee


This project aims to examine determinants of firm-level layoff decisions and investor perceptions to layoff announcements and assess the role of CEO political connections and state employee protection.
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The applicants should:

  • be highly motivated individuals with an excellent academic background
  • have a very strong quantitative background and must hold a BSc in Finance or Economics, or a related subject, or an MSc in Finance or Economics, or equivalent

Strathclyde Business School is committed to supporting a diverse and inclusive postgraduate research population. We make decisions on entry by assessing the whole person and not relying solely on academic achievements. On that basis, please ensure that your application (via your CV and covering letter) can evidence your resourcefulness, commitment and resilience as demonstrated by broader professional and life experiences. This evidence should be centred on your ability to undertake and complete a PhD and contribute to a positive PhD community.  

If English isn't your first language, you'll need an IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent with no individual element below 5.5.  

Your application must include:  

  • an updated curriculum vitae  
  • details of two academic referees, including email addresses  
  • academic transcripts, which must be certified copies 

There will be a shortlisting and interview process.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Project Details

The frequency of employee layoffs has increased over time despite evidence that layoffs do not benefit individual companies. The rising risk of unemployment, social unrest and political polarization, is in the top-10 risks in the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Global Risks Report.

Layoffs have wider adverse effects such as stress and mortality. To mitigate the negative effects of layoffs, regional and national governments have legislated on protections to employees from sudden mass layoffs. For instance, the OECD provides a summary of the variation in employment protection laws across countries.

Layoffs also have negative reputational effects for a company and its CEO and carry a political cost. This is why managers make corporate employment decisions that help politicians in their re-election efforts but negatively affect firm profitability.

This project will examine the role of political connections of company CEOs and political protections of employee rights in the propensity of layoffs and the stock price response to layoff announcements.

Further information

The student will benefit from supervision by Dr Patrick McColgan, who has published several papers on employee layoffs. The second supervisor is Professor Dimitris Andriosopoulos, who is an expert on corporate finance including the social finance aspect of this project and the causal inference methods employed in the work.

The student will benefit from opportunities to participate in the International Accounting & Finance Doctoral Symposium and conference / workshop events hosted by ReBI where leading experts in the Responsible Business and Sustainable Finance space will be participating. ReBI plans to host an annual conference of leading academics tied to special issues of internationally recognised and leading journals. Hence, providing the student multiple opportunities to present their work and receive feedback from leading academics. Finally, the student will be offered opportunities to visit international collaborators through the Financial Management Association (FMA) networks of the department.

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Funding details

Fully-funded scholarship for three years covers all university tuition fees (at UK level) and an annual tax-free stipend. International students are also eligible to apply, but they will need to find other funding sources to cover the difference between the home and international tuition fees. Exceptional international candidates may be provided funding for this difference. 

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Dr Patrick McColgan

Accounting and Finance

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Professor Dimitris Andriosopoulos

Accounting and Finance

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Number of places: 1

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Accounting and Finance

Programme: Accounting and Finance

Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025

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Contact us

Potential applicants should email Patrick McColgan ( in the first instance to discuss their interest.