Professor Chris Forde

Professor Chris Forde


I joined the University of Leeds as a student in 1990, and was awarded BA in Economics and Management in 1993, an MA in Economics in 1994 and a PhD in 1998.

I was appointed as a Lecturer in Industrial Relations in the Work and Employment Relations Division in 1998, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2005. In 2012 I was promoted to Professor of Employment Studies. I was Head of the Work and Employment Relations Division from 2009-2013, and have been Director of Studies in the WERD group, and Programme Director for the BA Human Resource Management and MSc. Management Consulting Programmmes.

I am currently Co-Director of the Centre of Employment Relations Innovation and Change, and I am co-ordinator of the Q-Step Programme, at the University of Leeds, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, and the ESRC. The University of Leeds is one of 15 Universities funded to promote a step change in quantitative training in the social sciences. I have also helped to establish a Migration Research Network at the University of Leeds

Externally, I was co-editor of the Work, Employment and Society Journal from 2011-2014, and one of the Stewards of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association between 2012-2015. I have been the 2 times winner of the Ian Beardwell Prize for best research paper at the CIPD Annual Research Conference (2007 - with Andrew Brown, Andy Charlwood and David Spencer and 2016 - with Gary Slater).





  • Co-Director, Centre for Employment Relations Innovation and Change
  • Co-Ordinator, Q Step Programme, University of Leeds

Research interests

My research interests look at the changing nature of work, and the implications of these changes for workers.

My principal research interest is in temporary agency working. Over the last 20 years, I have conducted research looking at the changing structure of the temporary agency industry and the experience of work for agency temps.  As well as academic publications, my work in this area with Gary Slater, has been published by ACAS, examining the role of agencies in pay setting and the effects of the Agency Worker Regulations in the UK.

Another main research interest is around the gig or platform economy. A joint report for the European Parliament Employment and Social Affairs Committee has just been published in December 2017, written with CERIC colleagues on the Social Protection of Workers in the Platform Economy.

 I also conduct research into migration, looking in particular at the experiences of migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees. Current projects in this area, with CERIC colleagues, are exploring the effects of Brexit on migration, and evaluating a Leeds City Council funded Migration Access Plus Project. I also co-authored an earlier report for the European Parliament in September 2015, looking at the tensions between internal market law and social and labour rights.

I have recently begun a new research project, with colleagues in the School of Education on job quality and burnout amongst secondary school teachers.

I have further research interests in restructuring, job quality, discipline and grievance at work, and the effects of collective bargaining on performance.

I have published widely across these interests and have received funding for my research from many external sources, including ACAS, BIS, the European Parliament, the International Labour Organisation, and the Home Office.




  • BA Economics and Management Studies, University of Leeds, 1993 (First Class Honours)
  • MA Economics, University of Leeds (1994)
  • PhD, Leeds University Business School, 1998

Professional memberships

  • Academic Fellow, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Student education

My teaching interests and experience cover:

Employment Relations

Research Methods

Human Resource Management

Management Consulting

Labour Economics

Employee Communication

Change Management and Leadership

Quantitative skillls training

I have experience of teaching at all levels, from Undergraduate through to post-experience.

I have supervised 16 doctoral students to successful completion


Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change

Current postgraduate researchers