"I studied in the Industrial Relations Department at the London School of Economics (LSE). Throughout my doctorate I was attached to the ‘Future of Trade Unions in Modern Britain’ research programme at the LSE's Centre for Economic Performance as a research assistant. My research topic was the political economy of trade union decline in Great Britain between 1980 and 1998.
"I had completed an MSc in industrial relations and before that had worked as a technician for a company that provided interpretation services for multilingual conferences and meetings. A lot of these meetings were trade union and industrial relations related, which is what sparked my interest in the subject.
"I am now a senior lecturer in industrial relations and human resource management at the University of York. I got my first lecturing post (University of Kent) as soon as my doctoral funding finished. Getting a job slowed down progress on my doctorate – I was overloaded with teaching in my first year and under pressure to publish. I moved to the University of Leeds two years later, finally finishing my doctorate.
"Although the pressure to publish slowed down work on my thesis, it resulted in much higher quality research. I received the Labour and Employment Relations Association’s best thesis award. The combination of a strong publishing record and international recognition for my doctorate has made it easy for me to get jobs, especially since competition for posts is not as intense as it is in some subject areas. After Leeds I moved to Warwick and then back to York when the post that I am now in became available.
"The process of conducting research, writing working papers, getting comments, presenting at seminars, going back to the data, then honing the research into a publishable paper, which I learned doing my doctorate, is absolutely central to the job I have now.
"The most valuable aspect of my doctoral training was experiencing the research environment and culture in the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE. I learned from the best in my field from all over the world, and it set me very high standards. The place where you do your doctorate is central to the value you derive from it. If you do your research in a world-class centre of excellence, where you present your work to the leading people in your field, you are going to get more from the experience than if you have no one to talk to but your supervisor and a couple of other doctoral researchers. The first time I presented a paper, it got torn to shreds, but I learned so much from the experience that it was worth it!
"I would recommend presenting your work at conferences and workshops and working on at least one paper aimed at publication in a leading journal during your doctoral research. This might slow you down a bit, but you will learn loads from the referees’ comments, and if you manage to get published, it will make getting your first job much easier."