Gabriella Alberti

Gabriella Alberti



2011: PhD in Social Sciences, Cardiff University
Transient Working Lives: Migrant Womens Everyday Politics in Londons Hospitality Industry

2007: MSc Social Sciences Research Methods, Cardiff University
Dissertation Exploring the relation between migration management and EU strategies for employment. An ethnographic study of the policy process at the European Parliament (distinction)

2006: BA Political Sciences, First Class, Department of Politics, Institutions and History, University of Bologna, Italy


2017-to date Associate Professor in Work and Employment Relations, Leeds University Business School

2012- 2017: Lecturer in Work and Employment Relations, Leeds University Business School

2011-2012: ESRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, School of Business and Management, Queen Mary University of London

May-December 2010: research contractor Labor Unions and The Civic Integration of Immigrant Workers:  UK Case Study on Hotel and Catering Workers, appointed by Cornell ILR School/International and Comparative Labor, Ithaca, NY

April-November 2007: Intern, European Parliament, Brussels. Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

September-December 2005: External Research Collaborator, Special Action Program to combat Forced Labour, International Labour Office, Geneva

I joined CERIC and the Work and Employment Relations Division in May 2012 after completion of an ESRC Post-doctoral Fellowship at Queen Mary University of London. The Fellowship aimed at disseminating the findings of my doctoral research on Transient Working Lives: Migrant Womens Everyday Politics in Londons Hospitality Industry, which I completed at Cardiff School of Social Sciences in 2011. My approach to the study of employment, labour migration and diversity is highly interdisciplinary drawing from Industrial Relations, sociology, geography and organisation studies. My research interests revolve around the questions of transnational labour mobility, precarious work and their implications for changing employment relations, trade unions renewal and social movement unionism. Through my interdisciplinary background and activist research I developed an unconventional perspective to management studies, with particular attention on racial and gender equality at work, training and improved conditions for precarious and contingent workers without standard social protections.

One of the key motivations of my academic work is to sustain a productive cross-pollination between research, policies and practices on the ground, in order to promote effective changes and organisational renewal in employment relations. Since 2010 I participated in a cross-country research project on Labour Unions and the Integration of Immigrant Workers funded by Hans-Bckler-Stiftung, Carnegie Corporation and the Public Welfare Foundation, collaborating with scholars including Jane Holgate, Lowell Turner, Lee Adler and Janice Fine as well as with members of major labour unions across the Atlantic. My ongoing research in CERIC involves: Labour mobility re-regulation post-Brexit (LUBS Seedcorn funding 2018); Platform work and Worker mobilization; Union voice, Just Trasntitions and the Climate Crisis (LUBS Research Challenge Fund);

I am a core member of the Leeds Migration Research Network which is an interdisciplinary research network of academics and practitioners in the area of migration research based out of University of Leeds.

My institutional engagements at the University of Leeds include membership of research committees such as the Board of the Leeds Social Sciences Research Institute. For my 4th year I have been elected member of the University College Union where I covered the role of Equality officer and sat in the Equality and Inclusion Committee as union representative.

Funded Research

May 2019 The Rise of Global Displacements: a Multidisciplinary approach, Seedcorn Funding LSSI, University of Leeds (with Sara Gonzales, Louise Waite and Maichale Jonoschka, School of Geography, ENV- Leeds Migration Research Network £ 1,960

May 2019: Sadler Seminar Series, "Migration and the City: Imagining and Making Urban Lives", LHRI University of Leeds (with Giorgia Aiello and Helen Kim, School of Media and Communication),£ 2,000

November 2018 : The impact of Brexit on employers and employment rights, Leeds University Business School Seedcorn Funding for External Grant, PI (with Jo Cutter, Zyama Ciupijus, Ioulia Bessa and Chris Forde) £1,980 ( plus £1,900 CERIC match funding for stakeholders event

October 2017: Evaluation of the Migrant Access Project Plus, a Joint proposal with the  Centre for Health Promotion Research School of Health and Community Studies Leeds Beckett University), Leeds City Council (with Chris Forde) 25,000

February 2017-May 2017: ESRC Brexit / Industrial Strategy Challenge fund on Migration, equality and social cohesion: promoting inter-community dialogue in times of change: focus on Brexit, Gabriella Alberti  and Chris Forde 5,600 External partner: Migrant Access Project, Leeds

December 2016: Social protection for workers in the collaborative economy CERIC (PI Chris Forde and Mark Stuart) as part of the European Parliament Tender for a multiple framework service agreement with the Employment and Social Affairs Committee

November 2016-January 2018 Migration, equality and social cohesion: promoting inter-community dialogue in times of change. Leeds Social Sciences Institute, Responsive Mode Fund (Total amount of IAA funding requested 8,500, total value of the project 10,000) with Chris Forde (WERD) and Louise Waite (Geography) External partner: Leeds City Council

September 2015-ongoing Migration, Development and Global Transformations (MDGT)  World University Network research development fund (RDF) (with Chris Forde)  11,000 (as part of larger WUN RDF, PI Ann Singleton, Bristol University)

June 2016-ongoing: Mobility grant for leaners and staff Erasmus Plus programme between the University of Leeds LUBS and the University of Padua Sociology department FISSPA. (PGRs Matt Cole (UoL) and Francesco Iannuzzi (UoP) working on the political economy of the hospitality sector and migrant labour in Italy and the UK.

February-June 2016 Exploring migrant and inter-mediated employment in the service economy of Italy LUBS Seedcorn Funding 2,000 (Study Leave 2016)

May 2016-ongoing Europe, migration and the new politics of (in)security White Rose Research Collaboration Fund (PI Alexandra Hall, University of York in collaboration with University of Leeds and Sheffield)(10960). With Deirdre Conlon and Louise Waite School of Geography University of Leeds)

Early Career Researchers Forum Event Developing future agendas in welfare to work research
Friday 27th January 2017 University of Leeds, BSA and LUBS seedcorn match funding (1,000plus LUBS seedcorn) with PI Jo Ingold (WERD) and Ruth Patrick 9Liverpool University)

September 2014-April 2015:  EU Social and Labour Rights and EU Internal Market Law (PI Professor Dagmar Schiek, Queen University Belfast) See (Total grant. 114,555)
May 2013: European Parliament Tender for a multiple framework service agreement with the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) (PI Andrea Wigfield, Sociology and Social Policy, Leeds University)

September 2010-September 2012: Labour Unions and the Integration of Immigrant Workers research project. PI Lowell Turner, ILR/Cornell, funded by Hans-Bckler-Stiftung, Carnegie Corporation and the Public Welfare Foundation.

May 2011- May 2012: ESRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, Transnational mobility, temporariness and political engagement: the everyday experiences of migrant women in the hospitality industry in London, 60,566.20, School of Business and Management, Queen Mary University of London

Research Supervision:

My activity in the Centre for Employment Relations Innovation and Change at LUBS involves collaborative research on migration and labour mobility in a transnational perspective, trade unions, employee voice and collective action in precarious employment (including in outsourcing, platform and gig work). With  Professor Chris Forde, Professor Jane Holgate, Jo Cutter, Dr Zynovijus Ciupijus, Dr Liz Oliver  we are currently interested in supervising doctoral projects related to:

  • The management of migration: labour and migration policy regimes
  • Transnational mobility and temporary staffing agencies
  • The impact of migrant labour on HRM strategies
  • Labour Migration and Skills
  • Restriction of free movements and impact on work and employment

Other areas of interest for supervising PhD students involve:

  •     Temporary work, mobility and the crisis of worker representation
  •     Comparative research on migrant workers integration in trade unions (with Prof Jane Holgate, LUBS)
  •     Community organizing, trade union renewal and social movement unionism
  •     Workforce diversity, equality, intersectionality
  •     Migrant women empowerment and innovative trade union learning
  •     The hospitality industry and low-paid service sector employment
  •     Affective and embodied labour processes in the hotel industry and tourism

If you would like to contact me about a proposal or application, please do so via email:

Doctoral student supervision:

Francesco Iannuzzi: Migrant Labour in the Hospitality sector in Venice (as part of the Erasmums Plus PGR exchange programme (Co-supervisor with Devi Sacchetto, University of Padova) (completed 2018)

Meenakshi Sarkar: British Pakistani taxi drivers: An insight on class, culture and employment habitus (Co-Supervisor with Jane Holgate)

Calum Carson: Citizens UK campaign for the Living Wage in Britain since it's establishment in 2001 With (Co-Supervisor with Kate Hardy)

John Harwood: Chinese Migrant Workers in Japan labour market and societal changes (funded by WRoCAH) (Co-supervised with Professor H. Zhang, Asian Studies)

Lilith Brouwers: Abusive relationship or business partnership? Sex workers experience of third parties in the UK, ESRC Fellowship (Co-Supervisor with Kate Hardy)

Forella Longobardi: Restructuring and workers response in the White Good Industry: an international perspective University of Padua

Bianca-Ioanidia Mirea: An exploration into the dynamics of digital workplaces and workers’ experiences in the platform economy (With Chris Forde and Mark Stuart)



  • Programme Director
  • MA HRM
  • Work and Employment Relations Division

Research interests

My research interests revolve around the conditions of workers at the bottom end of the labour market, whether on precarious contracts, engaged in gig/platform work, excluded from social protections, migrants and minorities workers facing multiple forms of discrimination and exclusion. Through an intersectional feminist Marxist lens, my qualitative research explores migrant precarious employment, intra-EU mobility, migration and temporary agencies, the challenges and opportunities of transnational mobility, trade unions strategies towards migrant workers, community organising and union renewal.

I am particularly interested in the forms of agency and resistance that workers build individually and collectively, despite their precarious status, as I explored in my past and recent publications in internationally peer reviewed journals such as Work Employment and Society, the International Journal of Human Resource Management, Economic and Industrial Democracy, the British Journal of Industrial Relations, and Working USA. From an HRM point of view I am interested in the challenges of migration and labour mobilty for labour turnover.

Lately I am developing new research and teaching strands (as part of the MA Module International Employment Policy and Labour mobility) to explore how the Hostile Environment and visa requirements impact on employee voice and the management of HR.

I have recently co-edited the Special issue of the Journal Work Employment and Society “In, Against and Beyond Precarity: Work in Insecure Times (2018). Since 2012 I am an active member of the Centre for Employment Innovation and Change at the University of Leeds Business School and a founding member of the Leeds Migration Research Network. Recent collaborative research funded by European Parliament involved the social protection of gig economy workers, and the crisis of welfare and free movement rights in the Eropean Union.

With regard my research on Migrant Voice and local engagement, I am currently conducting the evaluation research for the Leeds City Council ‘Migrant Access Project Plus’, which aims at improving integration of recent migrants and promoting intra-community dialogue locally. This project funded by the City Council built on previous research funded under the Impact Acceleration Account. All my research is centred on a collaborative approach aimed at producing research with participants to trigger policy and social change and improve the conditions of disenfranchised and marginalised communities.

More recently, with colleagues at the Centre for Employment Innovation and Change at the University of Leeds Business School, I am conducting exploratory research on: the re-regulation of labour mobility post-Brexit (see CERIC blog) ; the questions of mobilisation of workers in the platform economy (following my research for the EP Parliament in 2017 and 2015), as well as developing union voice in the Climate crisis and the Just Transitions movement.

At the inter-faculty level I am one of the founders and leading member of the Leeds Migration Research Network, which, in collaboration with the Social Justice, Cities and Citizenship research cluster, School of Geography is currently developing research on “Global Displacements under a multidisciplinary approach” (LSSI Funding, May 2019).  Thanks to the engagement of colleagues in LMRN and the campaign Access for Refugees, the University of Leeds since 2018-19 has introduced scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers under the Sanctuary Scholarship scheme.


  • 2011 PhD in Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2007: MSc Social Sciences Research Methods, Cardiff University
  • 2006: BA Political Sciences, First Class, Department of Politics, University of Bologna

Professional memberships

  • 2018 -to date Member of the Board of the Leeds Social Sciences Research Institute
  • 2019-to date: Associate Member of Editorial Board of the journal Frontiers of Sociology, Work and Organisation
  • May 2012- present: Member of the Centre for Employment, Innovation and Change, Leeds University Business School
  • 2011-present: member of the academic European network Immigration, Immigrants and Trade Unions in Europe (IITUE)
  • October 2016-ongoing: Doctoral academy board of the University of Padua, Department of Sociology
  • September 2015-present: Member and co-founder of the Leeds Migration Research Network, University of Leeds

Student education

Since 2017: Porgramme Director of the MA in HRM

2016019 Member of the Programme of Study and Audiut Group University of Leeds, Postgraduate Studies (Doctoral Academy)

Module taught in LUBS since 2012:

  • LUBS5330M - Human Resource Management Core Course (MA HRM)
  • LUBS5339M - International Employment Policy and Labour Mobility (MA HRM)
  • LUBS5376M - HRM Dissertation (MA HRM)
  • LUBS3311 - Human Resource Management Dissertation (BA HRM)
  • LUBS2000 - Management, Work and Organisations (BA HRM)
  • LUBS2060 - Contemporary Industrial Relations (BA HRM)
  • LUBS1755 - Business and Society (Combined) (BA HRM)

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change

Current postgraduate researchers