Building Sustainable Societies

Work, Care and Global Transitions

Work, Care and Global Transitions

Please note: This website is no longer active. The Building Sustainable Societies project was completed in 2015.

In this section:


Work, Care and Global Transition (WCGT) was a research strand within Building Sustainable Societies that combined the established research strength, capacity and international networks of a number of senior researchers working within the following centres at the University of Leeds.

  • Centre for International Research on Care, Labour and Equalities
  • Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change
  • Centre for Global Development

The research group built upon a strong portfolio of externally-funded research in order to develop path-breaking solutions to the grand challenge of creating sustainable social and economic systems that support population ageing without threatening the productivity, wellbeing and livelihoods of those of working age.

The Work, Care and Global Transitions strand was co-directed by Professor Mark Stuart and Professor Sue Yeandle (now at the University of Sheffield).

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Research Highlights

The WCGT hub led to a significant increase in the academic and policy impact of our work on work-care reconciliation, the inter-relationships between work and care and more generally the changing experiences and conditions of work. Considerable progress has was made towards achieving the critical mass of scholarship, output and international partnerships, which enabled us reach our goals of:

(i) being a world-leading centre of excellence in this field, and

(ii) recognised as such by  policy-makers at the European and global scales, by influential employers and civil society organisations worldwide, and by academic peers.

The research highlights are numerous; the project funded by the Low Pay Commission on employment in domiciliary care is just one notable example. This project utilised available ‘big data’ to highlight the extent to which domiciliary care workers’ wages had been pushed down by prevailing contracting regimes. It also charted an increasing prevalence of ‘zero hours’ contracts, a finding that has been widely reported. The findings were also presented, at a House of Lords meeting, to Baroness Kingsmill’s review of employment conditions in the care sector, as well as at numerous international conferences..


National & International Presence

During its lifetime, the work of the WCGT hub was aligned with numerous international scholarly research networks, led by internationally-recognised academic experts, with active participation from WCGT colleagues. These included:

WOCAWOWorking Carers, Caring Workers’ – an international network (Australia, Finland, Japan, Sweden, Taiwan, UK) funded mainly by an Academy of Finland award to Prof. T Kroger.

PASEC ‘Political and Social Economy of Care’ – An expert group of internationally recognised academics associated with the journal Social Politics, which came together to develop theoretical work on work/care /migration and produce a Special Issue of the Journal of European Social Policy, on ‘Care, Markets and Migration in a Globalising World’ .

EU COST network IS1102 Social Services, Welfare States & Places – This network includes scholars in 22 countries, facilitating the participation of those at all career stages. It provides opportunities for: (i) funded Short-term Scientific Missions (STSMs); (ii) to collaborate on comparative international analysis and joint academic publications; (iii) and to participate and present work at regular international meetings, with costs funded through the network.

FLOWS ‘The Impact of Local Welfare Systems on Female Labour Force Participation and Social Cohesion’ – EU FP7 consortium of 11 universities, led by Prof P Jensen, University of Aalborg, Denmark. This network includes leading and emerging scholars in 11 EU states and substantial scholarly output has been produced / is forthcoming in 2015

WFRN – Work and Families Research Network

GSIA – Global Social Initiative on Ageing – Professor Sue Yeandle is a founding member of this group of leading international scholars which has become an affiliated group of the International Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology (IAGG). Its founding international seminar, part-funded by WUN awards at Alberta, Sydney & Leeds created the impetus for the ‘Older Workers & Caregiving’ international collaboration (see S4 below). The GSIA has created an extremely promising platform, led by leading international scholars in all regions of the world[i] who are developing plans for IAGG-supported summer schools for early career scholars, the first to be hosted at the IAGG’s European regional meeting in spring 2015.

Research Network on ‘International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion in Europe’ brings together 32 established European research institutes and over 500 scholars from all over the world.

Flexible Careers Network


Impact on the wider community

The WCGT colleagues were very active in their engagement with the wider community.

Dr Jana Javornik has a very strong online presence with regular updates on social media such as Twitter as well as blogs, invited columns, opinion pieces and interviews not just in the UK but in Slovenia, Sweden and Iceland. She is engaged in parental leave reforms in Slovenia and the UK and with practitioners working with parents with disabilities in both Slovenia and Iceland.

Jana collaborates with the following organisations;

Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia and Iceland
CEE Network for Gender Equality
Network of East-West Women
Karat Coalition
Zavod 13
Meta’s List
My Family Care
Slovenian Human Right Ombudsman
Statistical Office of RS

Dr Rosa Mas Giralt works closely with Latin American migrant organisations in the north of England and London, including LASNET Manchester, LAWRS and IRMO London and is developing stronger links with groups across Europe in particular Spain and Italy.

Rosa also works with general migrant support and rights groups Migrants Resource Centre and Refugee Council.

Through two knowledge exchange and consultation events which took place with HEIF / Care-Connect funding, Rosa is raising the profile of the WCGT strand in areas relating to the social protection of migrants and their families in the UK.

Dr Jo Ingold has an advisory board for her ESRC Future Leaders project comprising policymakers and practitioners from the UK and Denmark.

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