Dr Ioulia Bessa

Dr Ioulia Bessa



2015 to date:  Academic University Fellow, University of Leeds 

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

2017-2018  Visiting Lecturer, Departement of Business & Management, University of Cyprus

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

I am a University of Leeds Academic Fellow (UAF), 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 Cass 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.

Since then, I showed an inetrest in other forms of non-standard employemnt, more closely connected to contigent employment and therefore(predominantky)  insecurity and lower job quality, such as zero-hour contracts. Towards that direction I worked with Professor Mark Stuart, Professor Chris Forde and Dr. Sian Moore on the Low Pay Commission project, where we are examining the job quality of domiciliary workers under zero-hour contracts in the UK.

I am now working on the connection between flexible work and precarity. I am also very interseted in looking at factors that change flexible working patterns, such as digital work and new forms of working pattrens, such as work in the platform economy. My research focus includes non-standard forms of employment and their connection to low pay, insecurity, employment/unemployment in insecure and recessionary contexts, using of quantitative instruments and methods to measure precarity, job quality and satisfaction among different European contexts. I have extended experience of using a range of secondary datasets, such as Understanding Society, Labour Force Survey, European Work Conditions Survey and the NMDS.

Reports and other publications

Bessa I., Charlwood A., Cook H. and Jephson N. (2016) An Enquiry into the Morale of Junior Doctors. Centre for Employment Relations Innovation & Change (CERIC) Policy Report No 8.

Stuart M., Valizade D. and Bessa, I. (2015). Skills and training: the union advantage. Trade Union Congress (TUC) Policy report.

Bessa I., Forde C., Moore S. and Stuart M. (2013) The Low Pay Commission Report-Chapter 2: The National Minimum Wage (NMW), earnings and hours in the domiciliary care sector. Available at: http://www.lowpay.gov.uk/lowpay/report/pdf/9305-BIS-Low_Pay-Accessible6.pdf

Bessa I., de Menezes L. and Simms, D. (2010). Flexible Work Arrangements in Greece. Economic Modelling Proceedings (No 259600025), Available at: http://www.ecomod.net/sites/default/files/document ... /ecomod2010/1337.pdf.

Funded research projects and scholarships

“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 (with Gabriela Alberti, Jo Cutter, Zyama Ciupijus and Chris Forde).

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

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

 "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).

“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).

Conference organising

September 2016: Work Employment and Society Conference: ‘Work in Crisis’ University of Leeds, Centre for Employment Innovation and Change (CERIC).

November 2014: One day (by invitation only) event, Worldwide Flexible careers network (FCN) on Flexible Work (with Jenny Tomlinson and Mark Stuart).


  • PGR Director

Research interests

  • In-work poverty and precariousness 
  • Flexible Working Arrangements (FWAs)
  • Zero-hour contracts                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
  • Job security/insecurity
  • Job quality and satisfaction  
  • Precariousness and precarity measures 
  • Digital (flexible) working patterns
  • (Flexible) working arrangements in the platform economy.

I welcome PhD candidates in all the above areas.


  • PhD, Mphil, MA, BA
  • 2008-2012: PhD, Cass Business School, City University, UK
  • 2006-2007: MPhil, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 2004-2005: MA, Steinhardt School/Stern business School, New York University, UK
  • 1999-2003: BA, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece

Professional memberships

  • British Sociological Association (BSA)
  • Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE)

Student education

In 2014-2015 I module led and have always been part of the teaching team in “Human Resource Management Research and Methods” (LUBS 5307M).

In 2018-2019 I module led  “Understanding Statistics in the Social Sciences” (LUBS 1185).

Representing University of Leeds Business School to the University of Cyprus, I also module led a postgraduate module (HRM 530), entitled “Principles of Management and Work”, hosted by the Department of Business and Public Administartion in 2018-2019.

In 2015-2017, I was also part of the teaching team for the “International Employment Policy and Labour Mobility” module (LUBS 5339M).

I supervise on average eight MA dissertations annually (LUBS5376M).

I currently supervise two PhD students :

Jack Daly: Understanding the Gender Pay Gap through a framework of Hegemonic Masculinity. (Co-supervised with Professor Jenny Tomlinson and Dr Vera Trappmann).

Gillian Wright: An examination of the line manager’s perspective on sickness absence. (Co-supervise with Dr Jo Ingold).

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change

Current postgraduate researchers