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School of Business and Management

Professor Mark Williams


Professor of Human Resource Management

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 2194
Room Number: Room 4.21a, Francis Bancroft Building, Mile End Campus




Mark Williams is a Professor in Human Resource Management in the Department of People and Organisations and the Centre for Research in Equality and Diversity in the School of Business and Management.

Mark researches the socio-economic disparities in the quality of jobs in the United Kingdom. Much of his work has focused on pay disparities across occupations and classes. Over the years, his work has branched out into working conditions more broadly (e.g., job insecurity, job control) as well as in workers’ attitudes to their jobs (e.g., job satisfaction, job meaningfulness). More recently, his research has explored the relationship between labour market regulation and the quality of jobs.

Mark joined QMUL in 2019. Prior to QMUL, he held posts at the University of Hong Kong, University of Surrey, and the London School of Economics. He undertook his undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral training at the London School of Economics and University of Oxford.



  • BUS320: Employment Relations


External Examiner for various Undergraduate, Postgraduate, and Summer School modules in management at the London School of Economics.


Research Interests:

  • Social stratification
  • Pay
  • Job quality
  • Job attitudes

Centre and Group Membership:

Grants, Contracts and Awards


  • Williams, M., J. Gifford, and Y. Zhou (2022). ‘Social Stratification in Meaningful Work: Occupational Class Disparities in the United Kingdom’, British Journal of Sociology, forthcoming.
  • Woodhams, C., M. Williams, J. Dacre, I. Parnerkar, and M. Sharma (2021). ‘A retrospective observational study of ethnicity-gender pay gaps among hospital and community health service doctors in England’, British Medical Journal Open, 11(12): e051043.
  • Zhou, Y., M. Zou, C-H. Wu, and M. Williams (2021). ‘When is the grass greener on the other side? A longitudinal study of the joint effect of occupational mobility and personality on the honeymoon‐hangover experience during job change’, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 42(4): 551–566.
  • Williams, M., Y. Zhou, and M. Zou (2021). ‘Differentiation in Pay for Performance Within Organizations: An Occupational Perspective’, International Journal of Manpower, forthcoming.
  • Williams, M., Y. Zhou, and M. Zou (2020). Mapping Good Work: The Quality of Working Life Across the Occupational Structure. Bristol: Bristol University Press.
  • Williams, M. (2020). Mapping Good Work: Policy Briefing. Bristol University Press/Transforming Society.
  • Williams, M. (2020). A ‘Good Work recovery’ is key to unlocking Britain’s productive potential. Bristol University Press/Transforming Society.
  • Williams, M., Y. Zhou, and M. Zou (2020). ‘The Rise in Pay for Performance Among Higher Managerial and Professional Occupations in Britain’, Work, Employment and Society, 34(4): 604-625.
  • Williams, M. and M. Koumenta (2020). ‘Occupational Closure and Job Quality: The Case of Occupational Licensing in Britain’, Human Relations, 73(5): 711-736.
  • Williams, M., Y. Zhou, and M. Zou (2020). The CIPD Good Work Index. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
  • Williams, M. (2020). Coronavirus class divide – the jobs most at risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19. The Conversation.
  • Zhou, Y., M. Zou, and M. Williams (2020). Downward Occupational Mobility and Subjective Well-Being: When Does it Hurt Less? AOM Annual Meeting Proceedings Virtual Conference.
  • Woodhams, C., M. Williams, I. Laliotis, et al. (2020). Independent Review of the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine in England. London: Department of Health and Social Care.
  • Koumenta, M. and M. Williams (2019). ‘An Anatomy of Zero-Hours Contracts in the United Kingdom’, Industrial Relations Journal, 50(1): 20-40.
  • Williams, M. (2019). Gender Analysis of Pay and Employment in the Civil Service. London: Public and Commercial Services Union.
  • Williams, M. (2019). Civil Service Pay Trends. London: Public and Commercial Services Union.
  • Williams, M., Y. Zhou, and M. Zou (2019). Differentiation in Pay for Performance Within Organizations: An Occupational Perspective. AOM Annual Meeting Proceedings Boston.
  • Williams, M. and T. Bol (2018). ‘Occupations and the Wage Structure: The Role of Occupational Tasks in Britain’, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 53: 16-25.
  • Williams, M. (2018). ‘Understanding the Efficacy of Financial Participation Across Europe: The Role of Country-Level Factors’, Economic and Industrial Democracy, 39(2):195–227.
  • Williams, M. and E. Gardiner (2018). ‘The Power of Personality at Work: Core Self-Evaluations and Earnings in the United Kingdom’, Human Resource Management Journal, 28(1): 45–60.
  • Chen, Y. and M. Williams (2018). ‘Subjective Social Status in Transitioning China: Trends and Determinants’, Social Science Quarterly, 99(1): 406–422.
  • Koumenta, M. and M. Williams (2018). Regulatory Effects of Occupational Licensing on Driving Instructors in the UK, European Commission.
  • Williams, M. (2018). Field of work determines pay, and increasingly so. Work In Progress, American Sociological Association.
  • Williams, M. (2017). ‘Occupational Stratification in Contemporary Britain: Occupational Class and the Wage Structure in the Wake of the Great Recession’, Sociology, 51(6): 1299-1317.
  • Zhou, Y., M. Zou, M. Williams, and V. Tabvuma (2017). ‘Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side? A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Occupation Change on Employee Job Satisfaction’, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 99: 66–78.
  • Zhou Y., C-H. Wu, M. Zou, and M. Williams (2017). A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Occupational Class Mobility on Job Satisfaction Trajectory: Individual Differences in Neuroticism. Best Paper Proceedings of the AOM Annual Meeting, Atlanta.
  • Williams, M. (2017). ‘An Old Model of Social Class? Job Characteristics and the NS-SEC Schema’, Work, Employment and Society, 31(1): 153-165.
  • Hodder, A., M. Williams, J. Kelly, and N. McCarthy (2017). ‘Does Strike Action Stimulate Union Membership Growth?’ British Journal of Industrial Relations, 55(1): 165–186.
  • Booth, J., D. Lup, and M. Williams (2017). ‘Union Membership, Free-Riders, and Charitable Giving in the United States’, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 70(4): 835-864.
  • Williams, M. and Y. Zhou (2017). Paying for performance in Britain: Does the type of job matter? CIPD ARC.
  • Williams, M. (2017). Civil Service Pay Trends 2007 to 2016. London: Public and Commercial Services Union.
  • Williams, M. (2016). ‘What Do Unions No Longer Do? Book Review’, Work, Employment and Society, 30(1): 202-204.
  • Chen, Y. and M. Williams (2016). ‘Subjective Wellbeing in the New China’, British Journal of Sociology, 67(4): 719-746.
  • Koumenta, M. and M. Williams (2016). An Anatomy of Zero-Hours Contracts in the United Kingdom. CIPD ARC.
  • Williams, M. and E. Gardiner (2016). The Power of Personality in the New Economy: Core Self-Evaluations and Earnings in the United Kingdom. CIPD ARC.
  • Williams, M. (2013). ‘Occupations and British Wage Inequality, 1970s-2000s’, European Sociological Review, 29(4): 841-857.
  • Booth, J. and M. Williams (2013). ‘Union members are more likely to give to charity, and to give more when they do’, LSE American Politics and Policy Blog.
  • Williams, M. (2012). ‘British wage inequality: what occupation you have has never mattered so much’, LSE British Politics and Policy Blog.
  • Gallie, D., M. Williams, and H. Inanc (2009). The Vulnerability of the Unskilled Across Europe.
  • Williams, M. (2009). How Does the Workplace Affect the Quality of Employment? London: Department for Business Innovation and Skills.


Areas of Supervision Expertise:

I am interested in hearing from potential doctoral researchers who would like to carry out quantitative research in the broad area of the quality of employment (e.g., pay, hours, job insecurity, job control, wellbeing, etc.).

I am especially interested in hearing about projects making use of nationally-representative survey or administrative data to explore disparities in this area (e.g., by occupation, class, ethnicity, age, or sex, etc.).

My expertise is on the United Kingdom and China, but I am happy to consider proposals concerning Anglophone or European countries, and potentially, countries in East/South-East Asia too.

Please get in touch with me directly if you would like to discuss an idea or a proposal.


Current Doctoral Students:

1st Supervisor

  • Ying Cui, Social Returns to Education: Evidence from China.

  • Rebecca Florisson, 'Path dependence in career mobility: The effect of precarious early work experience on career trajectories over the life course'
  • Lan Lu, The impact of China's increasing work overtime problem on Chinese employees.

Public Engagement

I have been Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on numerous projects funded by research councils, funding agencies, central government, trade unions, and professional bodies. My chief contributions have been (i) mapping disparities in the quality of jobs across occupations and classes and (ii) related measurement, classification, and data collection issues (e.g., occupational classifications, NS-SEC, job quality scales, job tasks, etc.).

I have acted as an Advisor or presented research to various government departments in the UK (e.g., BEIS, Cabinet Office, DHSC, and the ONS) and internationally (e.g., European Commission, Chinese government). My research has been cited by most national newspapers/websites, in various policy documents, and has been discussed in the House of Commons.

My latest project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, explores disparities in the quality of jobs and careers across occupational groups in the United Kingdom. The main findings are summarised in Mapping Good Work and at

Outside of QMUL, I am an Associate Editor at the British Journal of Industrial Relations and serve on the Editorial Board at Human Relations, a member of the ESRC Peer Review College, and an Academic Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. I previously served consecutive terms on the Associate Editorial and Editorial Boards respectively at Work, Employment and Society.

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