Professor Charles Umney
I joined the Leeds University Business School in January 2015 as a lecturer in the Work and Employment Relations Division (WERD). However, I also completed my PhD in WERD in early 2012. Between these dates, I worked at the University of Greenwich Business School. I became a Professor of International Work and Employment at WERD in November 2022.
After completing my PhD, I worked as a Co-Investigator on the European Research Council-funded project “The Effects of Marketization on Societies” (Primary Investigator: Ian Greer). This project examined how market competition is created, intensified and managed, and how these processes affect work and workers. This agenda has underpinned my research since, resulting in a sequence of studies particularly on working life in healthcare, welfare-to-work services, and cultural work. I have also begun to work increasingly on understanding worker protests from a global perspective, through my work with the Leeds Index (@Leeds_Index).
Most recently, I have begun to focus on the effects of digitalization and automation on work- with a particular interest in warehousing jobs. My teaching also focuses primarily on this topic. For example, I led the creation and delivery of the WERD Masters-level module, “Digitalization, Automation, and the Future of Work”.
- Director of Postgraduate Research Studies (WERD)
My primary research interests are as follows:
- Digitalization, automation and the future of work. I am particularly interested in how digital technologies and artificial intelligence are likely to affect workers in the warehousing industry.
- Market competition and power relations at work. Through studies of healthcare, welfare-to-work, and the cultural industries, I have sought to understand how efforts to create and extend market competition have affected working life.
- Worker protest from a global perspective. Particularly through my work with the Leeds Index, I have helped develop and analyse new datasets looking at how workers have tried to defend working conditions and how this varies internationally. This research has concentrated on on-demand labour platforms and encompasses healthcare and retail work.
- PhD, Work and Employment Relations
- MA International Studies
- BA(Hons) Jazz Studies
My teaching currently focuses on digitalization, artificial intelligence and the future of work, particularly at postgraduate level. Aside from this, I also teach extensively on issues relating to labour market institutions, with a particular interest in international/comparative study.
Research groups and institutes
- Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change