Dr Holly Birkett

Dr Holly Birkett

Department of Management
Senior Lecturer in Organisational Studies

Contact details

Birmingham Business School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Holly Birkett is a Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of the Work Inclusivity Research Centre (WIRC)C. She is Co-Director of the Equal Parenting Project and a member of the Department of Management. Holly's research field is careers and career transitions and she is currently conducting research into parental leave policies, flexible working and fathers in the workplace. Holly has extensive experience working with policy makers and business networks in the UK and beyond.

You can follow Holly on LinkedIn



  • PhD  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 Co-Director of the Work Inclusivity Research Centre (WIRC) and Co-Director of the Equal Parenting Project at Birmingham University Business School. She is  an Associate of the Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Responsible Business and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management. Holly's research field is careers and career transitions and she is currently conducting research into parental leave policies, flexible working and Fathers in the workplace. 

Holly conducts research on careers, 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 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, Critical Thinking, 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, flexible working and parenting policies, retirement, 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
  • Parental leave and fathers in the workplace
  • Experiences of retirement
  • Flexible working and family

Other activities

  • Co-Director of the Work Inclusivity Research Cluster (WIRC)
  • Co-Director of the Equal Parenting Project
  • Founder, Writer and Developer of the Fathers in the Workplace Toolkit and the Working Dads Employer Awards
  • Founder of the Working Dads Employer Awards
  • Founder and Research for the Flexible Working and Future of Work Longitudinal Project


Recent publications


Chung, H, Seo, H, Birkett, H & Forbes, S 2022, 'Working from home and the division of childcare and housework among dual-earner parents during the pandemic in the UK', Merits, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 270-292. https://doi.org/10.3390/merits2040019

Chung, H, Birkett, H, Forbes, S & Seo, H 2021, 'Covid-19, flexible working, and implications for gender equality in the United Kingdom', Gender and Society, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 218-232. https://doi.org/10.1177/08912432211001304

Birkett, H & Forbes, S 2019, 'Where’s dad? Exploring the low take-up of inclusive parenting policies in the UK', Policy Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 205-224. https://doi.org/10.1080/01442872.2019.1581160

Birkett, H, Carmichael, F & Duberley, J 2017, 'Activity in the third age: examining the relationship between careers and retirement experiences', Journal of Vocational Behaviour, vol. 103, no. Part B, pp. 52-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2017.08.002

Marsh, D, Akram, S & Birkett, H 2015, 'The structural power of business: taking structure, agency and ideas seriously', Business and Politics, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 577-601. https://doi.org/10.1515/bap-2015-0001

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, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 301-305. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9256.12058

Commissioned report

Forbes, S, Birkett, H & Smith, P 2020, What motivates employers to improve their Shared Parental Leave and pay offers? Government Equalities Office. <https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/952934/What_motivates_employers_to_improve_their_Shared_Parental_Leave_and_pay_offers.pdf>

Ashley, L, Birkett, H, Duberley, J & Kenny, E 2016, Socio-Economic Diversity in Life Sciences and Investment Banking. Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. <https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/549994/Socio-economic_diversity_in_life_sciences_and_investment_banking.pdf>


Branicki, L, Birkett, H & Sullivan-Taylor, B 2023, 'Gender and resilience at work: a critical introduction', Gender, Work and Organization, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 129-134. https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12915

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Carmichael, F, Birkett, H & Duberley, J 2019, Gender and Employment in Later Life. in Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging,. Springer.

Other report

Forbes, S, Birkett, H, Evans, L, Chung, H & Whiteman, J 2020, Managing employees during the COVID-19 pandemic: flexible working and the future of work. University of Birmingham. <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/college-social-sciences/business/research/responsible-business/managerial-experiences-during-covid19-2020-accessible.pdf>

Chung, H, Seo, H, Forbes, S & Birkett, H 2020, Working from home during the COVID-19 lockdown: changing preferences and the future of work. University of Birmingham. <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/documents/college-social-sciences/business/research/wirc/epp-working-from-home-covid-19-lockdown.pdf>


Birkett, H 2011, 'Class and Structured Inequality', Paper presented at Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, 1/01/11.

Birkett, H 2011, 'Critical Realism and Identity in Career Transitions', Paper presented at Seventh International Critical Management Studies Conference, Naples, Italy, 11/07/11.

Birkett, H 2011, 'Downshifting and Identity', Paper presented at 7th International Critical Management Studies Conference, 1/01/11.

View all publications in research portal


Dr Birkett has worked extensively advising third sector organisations, corporate employers and government departments about family friendly policies and flexible working.  Through the Equal Parenting Project she leads the annual Future of Work and Flexible Working Research Project which maps changes in managers attitudes to flexible working since COVID-19 and she has recently hosted the inaugural annual Working Dads Employers Awards, celebrating organisations that promote the role of fathers, driving gender equality in the workplace.  Dr Birkett has experience commentating on various aspects on inclusivity in the workplace as well as responsible business surrounding the way businesses look at equal parenting.  Holly is a member of the Government Equalities Office WAGE research programme on family friendly working and an Academic Member of the Chartered institute for Personnel Development (CIPD).

Media experience


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.

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