Graham Symon

Dr Graham Symon BA, PGCert, PhD

Principal Lecturer, Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour

Key details

Dr Graham Symon

Principal Lecturer, Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour

Graham Symon joined the University of Greenwich in 2008 after teaching at the universities of Glasgow, Bedfordshire and East London. Graham has taught at all levels of higher education and has published research in numerous formats, including books and peer-reviewed journals. He has a particular research interest in employment policy, local governance, the welfare state and the welfare-to-work policy.

In his most recent research projects, Graham has been working with University of Greenwich colleague Professor Ian Greer, and with colleagues from the universities of Aalborg (Denmark) and Duisburg-Essen (Germany).

Responsibilities within the university

  • Course leader for various undergraduate and postgraduate courses
  • Supervisor of four doctoral students
  • Member of WERU (Work & Employment Research Unit)
  • Member of University Research Ethics Committee, 2010-12.


  • British Universities Industrial Relations Association.

Research / Scholarly interests

Graham has a long-standing interest in the analysis of policy and institutions as they relate to work, the employment relationship and labour markets. The significance of institutional and policy analysis has been given new impetus following the widespread restructuring of labour markets and state apparatus in many of the world's developed economies since 2008, with somewhat controversial results. Unemployment and the precariousness of employment have emerged as core concerns, as have the on-going shifts in welfare states from 'safety-net' to coercive 'work-first' agendas.

Graham's most recent research has focused on comparing institutional trajectories of change in Western European welfare states (including the UK, France, Germany and Denmark).

Key funded projects

Current project

MESEC (Marketisation of Employment Services in European Comparison) Project: April 2013 to September 2014. Funding: €300,000 shared with the universities of Duisburg-Essen (Germany) and Aalborg (Denmark).

The contracted-out employment services industry has grown in size and influence. Its expansion reflects public-sector restructuring, changes in the policy instruments mix, budget cuts, the use of procurement and vouchers rather than grants, and the creation of a single European market for services. This project compares market structures and commissioning practices in Denmark, Germany and the UK.

This research project looks at how nationally varying market structures and commissioning practices are affecting job quality in employment services and the effects these practices are having on the quality and effectiveness of employment services?

Embedded in this study is a concern with how marketisation shapes the constraints under which front-line workers carry out their jobs and design their work, their representation by unions and works councils, and the self-organisation of providers and professions.

The project, which runs from 1 April 2013 to 31 December 2014, is based on a comparative case study of providers, supplemented with a review of secondary literature, statistical comparisons, comparative institutional analysis, and expert interviews with employment provider associations and trade unions. In addition, tendering documents will be analysed and compared.

A workshop will take place in each country towards the end of the project to discuss and debate research findings. A full range of stakeholders will be invited, including worker representatives, providers, policymakers, and claimant organisers.

The research team is based at three research centres: the Centre for Labour Market Research (CARMA) at Aalborg University in Denmark; Centre for Research on Employment and Work (CREW) at the University of Greenwich in the UK; and the Institute for Work, Skills, and Training (IAQ) at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany.

Recent publications


Umney, Charles and , Symon, Graham (2019), Creative placemaking and the cultural projectariat: artistic work in the wake of Hull City of Culture 2017. SAGE. In: , , , . SAGE, Capital and Class, 44 (4) . pp. 595-615 ISSN: 0309-8168 (Print), 2041-0980 (Online) (doi:

Moore, Sian , Onaran, Özlem, Guschanski, Alexander, Antunes, Bethania , Symon, Graham (2019), The resilience of collective bargaining – a renewed logic for joint regulation?. Emerald. In: , , , . Emerald, Employee Relations, 41 (2) . pp. 279-295 ISSN: 0142-5455 (Print), (doi: NB Item availability restricted.

Greer, Ian , Symon, Graham, Schulte, Lisa (2018), Creaming and parking in marketised employment services: an Anglo-German comparison. SAGE. In: , , , . SAGE, Human Relations, 71 (11) . pp. 1427-1453 ISSN: 0018-7267 (Print), 1741-282X (Online) (doi:

Schulte, Lisa , Greer, Ian, Umney, Charles, Iankova, Katia , Symon, Graham (2017), Insertion as an alternative to workfare: active labour market schemes in the Parisian suburbs. SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Journal of European Social Policy, 28 (4) . pp. 326-341 ISSN: 0958-9287 (Print), 1461-7269 (Online) (doi:

Umney, Charles , Greer, Ian, Onaran, Özlem, Symon, Graham (2017), The state and class discipline: European labour market policy after the financial crisis. SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Capital and Class, 42 (2) . pp. 333-351 ISSN: 0309-8168 (Print), 2041-0980 (Online) (doi: NB Item availability restricted.


Veersma, Uilke , William, Laura, Antunes, Bethania, Symon, Graham (2017), Bargaining for Productivity: National Report UK. European Commission. In: , , , . European Commission, Bargaining for Productivity (doi: ).