Professor Chris Forde

Professor Chris Forde


I am Professor of Employment Studies in the Work and Employment Relations Department and Co-Director of the Centre for Employment Relations Innovation and Change. I am also Deputy Director of the ESRC Digital Futures at Work Research Centre, where I am co-lead of the Digit Data Observatory.  I am also Co-ordinator of the  Q-Step Programme at the University of Leeds and am a founding member of the Leeds Migration Research Network. My previous roles within Leeds University Business School have included Head of the Work and Employment Relations Division (2009-2013), Director of Studies (2000-2009), Programme Director for the BA Human Resource Management degree (2000-2005) and Programme Director on the MSc. Management Consulting degree (2016-2018). Externally, I was part of the BUIRA Stewardship team between 2013-2016, and an Editor of the Work, Employment and Society journal between 2011-2014. 

I am currently an expert member of the Renewing Work Advisory Group of Experts (ReWage),  a national, independent expert advisory group supporting the government’s strategic response to the recovery and renewal of work and employment in the UK as it tackles the impact of Covid-19. I am also currently co-investigator on the ESRC Labour Mobility in Transition project (LiMITS), looking at the re-regulation of migration in low paid sectors in the post-Brexit, post-COVID environment. 

I am an alumnus of the University of Leeds, having graduated with a BA in Economics and Management (1993), an MA in Economics (1994) and a PhD from Leeds University Business School in 1998.



  • Co-Director, Centre for Employment Relations Innovation and Change
  • Co-Ordinator, Q Step Programme, University of Leeds
  • Deputy Director, Digital Futures at Work Research Centre

Research interests

My research interests look at the changing nature of work, and the implications of these changes for workers, employers and society. My main current areas of research are: 

  1. Temporary agency working
  2. ‘Contingent’ forms of work including zero-hours contracts and self-employment  
  3. Gig, platform and digital work 
  4. Migration and the experiences of migrant workers
  5. Restructuring and layoffs
  6. Job quality and worker well-being
  7. Labour market regulation and policy
  8. Business lobbying
  9. Human Resource Management, and its’ impacts
  10. Unions and collective bargaining 
  11. Research methods including quantitative, qualitative and archival research



  • 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 are in the following areas: 

  • Human Resource Management
  • Employment Relations
  • Management Consulting
  • Labour Economics
  • Employee Communication
  • Change Management and Leadership
  • Research methods

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

I have supervised 20 doctoral students to successful completion


Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change

Current postgraduate researchers