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Gaby Atfield

Research interests

Gaby's current research primarily focuses on differential access to the labour market and the relationship between employment and social inclusion/exclusion. Within this broad theme, she is particularly interested in how disadvantaged groups engage with policies and programmes to improve their education and employment prospects, including:

  • Work, welfare and public policy, particularly participation of disadvantaged groups in active labour market programmes;
  • Higher education and employment as vehicles for social mobility;
  • Social capital, social networks and integration, especially of young people and migrants.

Recent research projects have included work on:

  • Worklessness and routes into education and employment, including programme evaluations (SERCO, British Council, DWP, Isle of Angelsey County Council, BIG, ESRC, Centrepoint and TfL);
  • The graduate labour market (Nuffield, Royal Society of Chemistry, SWRDA, Irish Research Council, ESRC, DfE), including the Futuretrack project, tracking 2006 HE applicants through HE and into employment (HECSU and the Nuffield Foundation);
  • Migrants in the labour market, (UKCES, Home Office/Migration Advisory Committee, EMDA), including refugees and asylum seekers (BIG).

Gaby has particular methodological interests in:

  • Longitudinal research and tracking (using both quantitative and qualitative methods);
  • Online survey research;
  • Participatory and inclusive methods and cross-cultural and community research.

She has experience working with Turkish, Kurdish and Somali-speaking diasporic communities.

Academic profile

Gaby has a background in Geography and joined IER in November 2007. Prior to this, she worked as a researcher at the Universities of Birmingham and Dundee and Goldsmiths College, University of London and was a Lecturer in Geography at the University of Sussex.

Selected current projects

  • Local Policy Innovation Partnerships (LPIP), with Universities of Birmingham, Aston, Birmingham City, Coventry, Keele, Staffordshire and Wolverhampton, Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), Citizens UK, Urban Communication and the Economic Intelligence Unit, Funded by ESRC, Project duration: April 2023 - September 2023
  • UK veterans from ethnic minority backgrounds, with Emily Erickson, David Owen and Andreana Glendinning; Funded by the Office for Veterans' Affairs, Project duration: April 2022 - August 2023
  • Educational Psychology services: Workforce insights and school perspectives on impact. With Beate Baldauf, David Owen and Ecorys, Funded by the Department for Education, Project duration: February 2022 - March 2023
  • Innovation for African Universities Programme. Funded by the British Council, Project Duration: September 2021 - October 2022
  • The Effect of Local Crime on Child Marriage, School Dropout, and Employment Outcomes: A Gender Perspective from India. With Sudipa Sarkar, Funded by ESRC Global Challenges Research Fund. Project duration: November 2019 - April 2021 [details]
  • Degrees of Advantage? A longer-term investigation of the careers of UK graduates. With Kate Purcell, Peter Elias, Erika Kispeter and Rosie Day and Stef Poole. Funded by: Nuffield Foundation. Project duration: April 2018 - September 2021 [details]
  • Identification of factors affecting successful outcomes in the DDU-GKY Indian skills programme for unemployed young people. Funded by ESRC. Project duration: October 2018 - October 2021 [details]

All projects

Selected publications

All publications

All conference presentations

Doctoral supervision

  • Xiaotong ZhangLink opens in a new window 'What are enablers, constraints, processual mechanisms and methods of female self-employment and female entrepreneurship in Beijing?' (PhD awarded 2024)
  • Mohammed Abdullahi 'What are the return propensities of Nigerian Medical Doctors in the UK?'
  • Danya NusseirLink opens in a new window 'Exploring the role of digital literacy in integration of marginalised communities: Arab refugee women and access to the labour market in Jordan, Lebanon and the UK'
  • Özlem Ilyas 'Student workers in Higher Education in Turkey'


  • DTC Qualitative Methods - Qualitative Interview Data Analysis (Lecturer, Doctoral Training Centre, University of Warwick, 2014 - to date)
  • DTP Advanced training - Using qualitative data in research reports (Lecturer, White Rose DTP convened by the University of Leeds, 2023)
  • Introduction to Qualitative Methods (Lecturer, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB), 2021)
  • Introduction to Qualitative Methods (Lecturer, Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS), India, 2019, 2020, 2021)
  • Conducting ethical research (Lecturer, Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS), India, 2020, 2021)
  • Conducting research during the Covid-19 pandemic (Lecturer, Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS), India, 2021)
  • Methods in Migration Research MA (Convenor & Lecturer, University of Sussex, 2002-3)
  • Migration Studies MA (Lecturer, University of Sussex, 2002-3)
  • Refugees and Development MA (Lecturer, University of Sussex, 2002-3)
  • European Cultural Identity MA (Lecturer, School of European Studies, University of Sussex, 2002-3)
  • Contemporary European Migration BA/BSc Year 2/3 (Convenor & Lecturer, School of European Studies, University of Sussex, 2002-3)
  • Issues in Contemporary Society: Migration BA/BSc Year 2/3 (Convenor & Lecturer, School of Social Science, University of Sussex, 2002-3)
  • Cities BA/BSc Year 1 (Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Sussex, 2002)
  • Human Geography Fieldcourse BA/BSc Year 1 (Department of Geography, University of Sussex, 2002)
  • Research Methods BA Year 3 (Seminar Leader, Department of Politics and Social Policy, Goldsmiths College (2001)
  • Global Change BA/BSc Year 3 (Seminar Leader, Department of Geography, University of Newcastle, 1999-2000)
  • Politics, Culture and Territory BA/BSc Year 3 (Seminar Leader, Department of Geography, University of Newcastle, 1998-9)

Professional memberships

  • British Association for Turkish Area Studies (BATAS)
  • British Sociological Association




Senior Research Fellow

Institute for Employment Research
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL

Tel: +44(0)24 76 150419

G dot J dot Atfield at warwick dot ac dot uk