Dr Holly Birkett

Dr Holly Birkett

Department of Management
Lecturer in Organisational Studies

Contact details

Birmingham Business School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr. Holly Birkett is a lecturer and academic researcher at Birmingham Business School. She is a Co-Director of the Work Inclusivity Research Centre (WIRC), an Associate of the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business and a member of the Department of Management


  • Ph.D.  in Organisation Studies, Warwick Business School, 2011
  • MA in Organisation Studies, Warwick Business School, 2007
  • BA. (Hons) in Politics, Sheffield University, 2000


Dr. Holly Birkett is an academic and the Business and Management Impact Lead, at Birmingham Business School. She is a lecturer and academic researcher at Birmingham Business School. She is a Co-Director of the Work Inclusivity Research Centre (WIRC), an Associate of the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business and a member of the Department of Management.  

Holly conducts research on work inclusion and individual identity.  She has undertaken projects on topics including parents at work, careers and careers transitions, social mobility, social enterprise and retirement and has published in academic journals such as The Journal of Vocational Behaviour. She is an invited member of the Government Equalities Office WAGE research programme on family friendly working and an Academic Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD). Holly has previously worked at the University of Warwick and prior to that worked in Employee Relations at Scottish Power Plc.  Holly teaches at Undergraduate and post graduate level across subjects such as Organisation Studies, Organisation Management, Organisation Theory and Human Resource Management.


  • BSc Module Organisation Studies: Past, Present and Future
  • BSc Module Organisational Behaviour
  • MSc Module Managing Organisations

Postgraduate supervision

Holly is interested in supervising PhDs in the fields of careers and career transitions, retirement, social mobility and work, social enterprise and the experiences of working fathers. Her preference is for PhD students who use qualitative research methods and who take a critical and reflective perspective.


  • Career and career transitions
  • Motivations and experiences of working in social enterprise
  • Experiences of retirement
  • Social mobility and inclusion

Other activities

  • Business and Management Impact Lead
  • Co-Director of the Work Inclusivity Research Cluster (WIRC)
  • Key Writer and Developer of the Fathers in the Workplace Toolkit


Journal Papers

Forbes, S., Birkett, H., & Smith, P. (forthcoming). What motivates employers to improve their Shared Parental Leave and pay offers? Retrieved from London: UK.

Birkett, H., & Forbes, S. (2019). Where’s dad? Exploring the low take-up of inclusive parenting policies in the UK. Policy Studies, 40(2), 205-224.

Birkett, H., Carmichael, F. and Duberley, J. (2017) Activity in the third age: Examining the relationship between careers and retirement experiences, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 103, Part B, 52-65

Marsh, D., Akram, S., & Birkett, H.  (2015) The structural power of business: taking structure, agency and ideas seriously. Business and Politics. 17 (3): 577-601.

Birkett, H., & Marsh, D. (2014). What is to be Done? A Broad Church and the Impact of Political Science Research–A Response to Matthew Wood. Politics, 34(3), 301-305.

Marsh, H (2002) ‘Changing Pressure-Group Politics: The Case of the TUC 1994–2000’, Politics 22(3): 143-151.

Marsh, H and Marsh, D (2002) ‘Tories in the Killing Fields? The Fate of Private Members' Bills in the 1997-2001 Parliament’, Journal of Legislative Studies 8(1): 91-112.

Policy and Advisory Documents

The Social Mobility Commission (2016) Socio-economic diversity in life sciences and investment banking (Joint author)  http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/id/eprint/27122

Cabinet Office Publication (2009) - Fair Access: Good Practice - a Phase 2 report from the Panel - http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/strategy/work_areas/accessprofessions.aspx (Primary author)

Cabinet Office Publication (2009) - Fair Access Panel Research Paper - http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/strategy/work_areas/accessprofessions.aspx (Primary author)

Cabinet Office Publication (2009) - Unleashing Aspiration: The Final Report of the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/strategy/work_areas/accessprofessions.aspx (Key contributor) 

Refereed Conference Proceedings 

2016: Paper presenter at Nottingham University, Examining the relationship between careers and retirement experiences

2016: Paper Presented at WES 2016 Leeds, Activity in the Third Age

2013: Paper presented  at the Stern Annual Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, NYU , Organisational Identity in a UK Social Enterprise

2013: Paper presented at Critical Realism Conference 2013, Nottingham, A Critical Realist Approach to Downshifting

2012: Paper presented at ISBE conference, Social Entrepreneurship: Creating organisational identity

2011: Paper presented EGOS 2011 Gothenburg, Downshifting and the Boundaryless Career

2011: Papers presented CMS 2011 Naples, Critical Realism and Identity in Career Transitions 

2011: Paper presented at CMS 2011 Naples, Downshifting and Identity 

2011: Paper presented at the Australian National University, Canberra, Class and Structured Inequality

2010: Paper presented at Critical Realism in Action conference, Leeds University, Critical Realism and Qualitative Research Methods

2009: Paper presented at CMS Warwick, Identity Transitions: The Experience of Retirement 

2008: Visiting Research Fellow at Lund University Sweden. Seminar paper presented, Identity and Critical Realism

2007: Paper presented European Group of Organization Studies conference in Vienna, The Retirement Transition and Identity

2007: Paper accepted for Critical Management Studies conference in Manchester

2007: Paper Presented WBS, Exploring the Retirement Transition

View all publications in research portal


Holly conducts research on work inclusion and individual identity. She is a policy expert on parental leave, parenting, fatherhood, equal parenting and family-friendly policies.

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office