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WALES ESRC DTP PHD ‘COLLABORATIVE’ STUDENTSHIP - Fair Work: Job Quality and Fairness in UK and Welsh Workplaces (in collaboration with ACAS Wales and South West of England)

Project Description

UK workplaces are facing a conundrum; despite growing affluence, various workforce surveys indicate the deleterious effects of work such as growing work intensity, declining task discretion, growing insecurity and a declining fairness of work (Felstead, 2019; Green, 2006; Hassard and Morris, 2018). The 2017 UK Skills and Employment Survey (the latest of seven initiated by the proposed second supervisor, Felstead), pointed to a marked increase in work intensity, with an increase in respondents carrying out very hard work, at high speed and with tight deadlines; a decrease in job control (particularly job discretion), but a decrease in insecure jobs, reflecting changes in the economic cycle between 2012 and 2017 (see also, Hassard and Morris, 2018). One of the great challenges of work is thus how to reconcile growing prosperity and long term falling hours at work with what the Taylor Review argues constitutes ‘fairness‘ in the contemporary workplace (Taylor, 2017). The proposal will do this through the study of the Welsh sample compared to the UK sample of the 2017 Skills and Employment Survey (led by Felstead of the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University) together with qualitative work carried out at Welsh workplaces covered in the research of Morris and Hassard.

Research Aims and Possible Research Questions.

The project aims to evaluate:
i) The differences on the major measures of the UK Skills and Employment Survey (work intensity, insecurity at work, job discretion and fairness at work) according to key variables (occupation, age and gender)
ii) The extent to which there are major differences in the measures of fair work between Wales and the UK
iii) To explore in-depth these issues via the case studies of major employing organisations to develop evidence-based policy.

Anticipated Research Methods and Design.

The specific research methods will depend on discussions between supervisors and the student. However, a mixed-method research design is anticipated.
1. Secondary data analysis identifying challenges and successful examples.
2. Quantitative data analysis of the 2017 Skills and Employment Survey Study broken down to a sub (UK) national level.
3. Qualitative research involving interviews and case studies of Welsh private and public sector organisations.

Applications are invited from exceptional candidates with a first class or strong upper second class honours degree, or appropriate Master’s degree. Both the University and the ESRC Wales DTP value diversity and equality at all levels and we encourage applications from all sections of the community.

We welcome applications for both full and part-time study, and studentships are available as either ‘1+3’ (i.e. one full time year of research training Masters followed by three years of full-time Doctoral study, or the part-time equivalent), or ‘+3’ (i.e. three years of full-time doctoral study or its part-time equivalent), depending on the needs of the applicant.

A completed application form should be submitted no later than 3rd February 2020. In the funding section, please select “I will be applying for a scholarship/grant” and “ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership”.

Please include:
1. Covering Letter
2. Academic Qualifications
3. Two References
4. CV
5. Research Proposal (maximum 1000 words), taking into consideration the working title of the project.

Mae’r rhaglen hon ar gael drwy gyfrwng y Saesneg yn unig. I wneud cais am wybodaeth yn Gymraeg, cysylltwch â’r Tîm Recriwtio Ôl-raddedigion ().

This program is available in English only. To request information in Welsh, please contact the Postgraduate Recruitment Team ().

Funding Notes

Cardiff Business School, supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales, invites applications for funded PhD study. The ‘collaborative studentships’, involve liaison with a non-academic organisation at many key areas throughout the project. They will commence in October 2020 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant (currently £15,009 p.a. for 2019/20 for full-time students); ); and includes access to an additional Research Training Support Grant.

Full awards are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements.


Fair Work Wales (2019) Fair Work in Wales: Report of the Fair Work Commission. National Assembly: Cardiff.

Felstead, A (2019) Changing Job Quality in Britain: Some Headline Findings from the Skill and Employment Survey 2017. Presentation to Cardiff Business School, February 12th.

Green, F. (2006) Demanding Work. Princeton University Press.

Hassard, J. and Morris, J. (2018) Contrived competition and manufactured uncertainty: Managerial job uncertainty narratives in large corporations. Work, Employment and Society 32: 546-80.

Taylor, M (2017) Working in the Modern Economy: The Taylor Review. London

Related Subjects

How good is research at Cardiff University in Business and Management Studies?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 72.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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