Dr Ioulia Bessa

Dr Ioulia Bessa



2021 to present : Associate professor

2015 to 2021:  Academic University Fellow, University of Leeds

2013 to 2015: Research Fellow, Work and Employment Divison, Leeds University Business School

2011-2018: Visiting Lecturer, Bayes Business School, City University of London

I am an Associate professor in Leeds Business School, previously employed as a University Academic Fellow (UAF) and based in the Centre of Employment Relations Innovation and Change (CERIC) CERIC at Leeds University Business School. I joined Leeds after completing my PhD at Bayes Business School, City University of London. Throughout my PhD I worked on the area of Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) and area I am still working on.

My research focus includes non-standard forms of employment and their connection to precarity, underemployment/unemployment. My current research agenda includes the use of quantitative instruments and methods to measure and understand precarity in different recessionary contexts including the post-BREXIT and post-Covid-19 period and also in the platform economy. I am also very inetrested in looking at how precarious and unceratin periods affect mental health, wellbeing, life and job satisfaction.

I have experience of using a range of secondary datasets (national and international) and specifically the UK Household Longitudinal Survey (UKHLS) and the European Working Conditions Survey and worked on projects funded by the Low Pay Commission, the Trade Union Congress, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung institute and the International Labour Organisation.


  • Director of PGR studies

Research interests

Flexible working arrangements

Non-standard employment

Insecurity & precarity

Platform economy

Mental health & Wellbeing at work


Grants and research projects

2021: Labour mobility in transition: a multi-actor study of the re-regulation of migrant work in 'low-skilled' sectors. Project website available at: https://business.leeds.ac.uk/dir-record/research-projects/1870/labour-mobility-in-transition-a-multi-actor-study-of-the-re-regulation-of-migrant-work-in-low-skilled-sectors-limits with Alberti G. (PI) and Forde C.,Graham G., Cutter J., Ciupijus Z., Morganti M.E.

2020: The Leeds index of platform labour protest. Project website available at: https://business.leeds.ac.uk/dir-record/research-projects/1721/leeds-index-of-platform-labour-protest  with Joyce S., Newmann D., Stuart M., Trappmann V. and Umney C.

2020: Platform labour unrest and a return of associational power? The case of food delivery platforms FES Institute, ‎4000,  Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Institute, with Joyce S., Newmann D., Stuart M., Trappmann V. and Umney C.

2020: “Worker protest in the platform economy”. International Labor Organization (ILO), $12,5000 with Joyce S., Newmann D., Stuart M., Trappmann V. and Umney C.

2020-2025: ESRC-Digital Futures at Work (Digit Centre) (PIs Jackie O’ Reilly/Mark Stuart) £8 million – January 2020-January 2025.

2019: Talent Match Initiative Evaluation (voluntary sector-led approach to moving disadvantaged NEETs closer to the labour market) Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL) £5000.

2018: “The impact of Brexit on employers and migrant workers”, External Grant Application Funding Application (Seedcorn Fund), University of Leeds Business School, £4000, May to July 2018.

2018: “Diaspora Scholarship to Distinguished Academics”, University of Cyprus, £6000 July to December 2018.

2016: Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Union Workplace Representatives”, Report prepared for the Trade Congress (TUC), £10,000, September to December 2016 (with Professor Andy Charlwood).

2015: "The union impact on training: Analysis of the 2011 WERS and the Labour Force Survey (LFS)", £9,972, 2014-2015 (with Professor Mark Stuart-PI and Dr Danat Valizade), Trade Union Congress (TUC).

2014-2016: “The impact of the Essential Skills in Wales programme: Counterfactual Evaluation’ Welsh Assembly”, £11,000, September 2014-September 2016 (with Jo Cutter, Chris Forde and Mark Stuart through York Consulting).


Selected conference papers

Bessa I., Joyce S., Newmann D., Stuart M., Trappmann V. and Umney C. (2020) Trends in Collective Action, Organising and Mobilisations in the Platform Economy, Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) July 18-21, Virtual Conference.

Alberti G., Bessa I., Ciupijus Z., Cutter J., Forde C. and Roberts M. (2019) Labour migration in a post-BREXIT world, International; Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion (IMISCOE) June 26-28, Malmo, Sweden.

Bessa I. and Ierodiakonou C. (2019) Varieties of precarity in Europe: An empirical analysis of different types of precarity using a comparative perspective.

Bessa I. (2019) A multidimensional model of precarity in Europe: Evidence from the EWCS, 12-14 April, Vienna, Austria.

Bessa I., Charlwood A., Valizade, D. (2018) Do Labour Unions Cause Job Dissatisfaction? Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment. Academy of Management Annual Meeting, August 10-14, Chicago, IL.

Bessa I., Stuart M., Valizade, D. (2017) Why flexible working arrangements did not protect the Greek labour market during the recession? A dual labour market perspective. ESA Conference, Athens, Greece, September 2017.

Valizade, D., Bessa I., Stuart M. (2017) Labour market polarization in Britain: latent clusters of job quality and work-related preferences, SASE Conference, Lyon, France, July 2017.

Avgoustaki A. and Bessa I. (2016) The Implications of Employee and Employer-Centred Flexible Work Arrangements on Employee Extensive and Intensive Work effort: The Moderating Role of Family Responsibilities, Work Employment and Society Conference, Leeds, UK, September 2016.


Invited talks and media engagement

Bessa, I. (2020) Blog: Cut hours, not people: no work, furlough, short hours and mental health during COVID-19 pandemic in the UK,  Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change (CERIC) Blog,  July 28th 2020, Available at: https://business.leeds.ac.uk/research-ceric/news/article/465/new-ceric-blog-cut-hours-not-people-no-work-furlough-short-hours-and-mental-health-during-covid-19-pandemic-in-the-uk

Paper in the media:

-Financial times:  Sharing work could ease mental health impact of pandemic, Available at:

-The Telegraph: Risk of mental health problems identical for those on furlough and in work, study finds. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/07/24/risk-mental-health-problems-identical-furlough-work-study-finds/

-CIPD and Personnel Today: Redundancies vs reduced hours: Juggling workloads through coronavirus Available at https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/redundancies-vs-reduced-hours-juggling-workloads-through-coronavirus/

Bessa, I. and Umney, C. (2020) Blog: New Insights into platform work: Leeds Index of platform labour protest. CERIC Blog, July 17th 2020, Available at: https://cericleeds.wordpress.com/2020/07/17/new-insights-into-platform-work-leeds-index-of-platform-labour-protest/

Bessa, I (2020) Webinar: Impacts on Business: Lockdown - Future of work & employment amidst Covid-19, May 13th 2020, Available on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwhsqx1aUTZ_4F7ywRPokSM26nn_zCsIg

Alberti, G., Bessa, I., Ciupijus, Z., Cutter, J., Forde, C. (2020) Blog: The Coronavirus crisis exposes further the fault lines in the proposed post-Brexit Points Based System of immigration. But will it lead to a re-think? CERIC Blog, April 29th 2020, Available at: https://cericleeds.wordpress.com/2020/04/29/the-coronavirus-crisis-exposes-further-the-fault-lines-in-the-proposed-post-brexit-points-based-system-of-immigration-but-will-it-lead-to-a-re-think/

Bessa I. (2019) Invited to TRT World Channel for a Roundtable Discussion on work-apps and casual work, with title “WORK APPS: good for job seekers? Broadcasted on November 25th 2019, Available at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NKaHqJ7dkw‚Äč

Bessa I. (2019) ZHCs, earnings and hours in the domiciliary care sector: Evidence based on data and case studies between the period 2008-2018, Invited talk, December, Department of Business and Public Administration, University of Cyprus.

Bessa I. (2019) Examining the link between flexible working arrangement bundles and employee work effort, Invited talk, March, ALBA Graduate Business School, Athens, Greece.

Bessa I. (2018) Accelerated and emergent themes in flexible work arrangements: Recession and labor market insecurity, Invited talk, July, Department of Business and Public Administrat


  • PhD, Mphil, MA, BA
  • 2008-2012: PhD Bayes Buiness School, City University, UK
  • 2006-2007: Judge Business School, University Of Cambridge,UK
  • 2004-2005: Steinhardt School/Stern Business School, New York University, USA.
  • 1999-2003: Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens, Greece

Professional memberships

  • Higher Education Fellow
  • British Sociological Association (BSA)
  • European Sociological Association (ESA)
  • Society for teh Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE)
  • CYGNA (Women in Academia (Management) Network)

Student education


  • 2013-present: “Human Resource Management Research Methods and Practice” (postgraduate level)-LUBS5307M (module leader during 2014-2015), University of Leeds (evaluation score 85%)
  • 2018-2019:“Understanding Statistics in Social Sciences” (Module leader- undergraduate level)-LUBS1185, University of Leeds (cover for colleague on leave-not evaluated).
  • 2018-2019:“Principle of Human Resource Management” (Module leader-postgraduate level) - HRM530 Department of Management, University of Cyprus (evaluation score 8/10).
  • 2012-2019:“Principles of Human Resource Management” (undergraduate level), Department of Management, Cass Business School, City University (evaluation score non-applicable)

PhD Supervision

I supervise three PGRs and overan inetrnational one:

-Jack Daly: Understanding the Gender Pay Gap through a framework of Hegemonic masculinity in the financial and legal sectors. Co-supervise with Professor Jennifer Tomlinson and Dr Vera Trappmann, started Sep 2018.

-Gillian Wright: An examination of line managers’ perspective on sickness absence management. Co-supervise with Dr Hugh Cook, started Sep 2018.

-Ma Ne:  Exploring the work-life experiences of single Chinese professional women through and intersectional perspective: career trajectories, “leftover women” and private lives. Co-supervise with Dr Kate Hardy, started Sep 2020.

-Melissa Renau Cano: Platform Labour in urban spaces: Fairness, Welfare and Development (part of Horizon 202 project that includes four platforms and seven European cities including Barcelona and London) Open University of Cataluña (UOC). Supervisor: Mayo Fuster Morell and PhD Thesis members: Ioulia Bessa (University of Leeds) and Mark Graham (University of Oxford), started Sep 2019.


Membership and external roles

2019                    Higher Education Fellow

2013-2016           External Examiner/Collaborator, ESCP Europe (London) 

2013-present       Member of CYGNA (Women in Academia (Management) Network

2012-present       British Sociological Association (BSA) member, European Sociological Association    (ESA member), Academy of management (AOM), SASE member



Human Relations; Work Employment and Society; Gender, Work and Organization, British Journal of Management; International Journal of Human Resource Management; Economic and Industrial Relations


Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change

Current postgraduate researchers