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Senior Lecturer in Sociology, City, University of London

Gerbrand Tholen is a senior lecturer in Sociology. His research interests are centred around education, skills, jobs, occupations and the labour market. He has previously examined issues of skill utilisation, graduate work, elite education, labour market mobility, income inequality, skill formation and the global labour market as well as social theory.

From 2012-2015 he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Education, University of Oxford in which he conducted a study on the UK graduate labour market. This study aimed to create a better understanding of the post-recession British labour market for graduate workers, providing in-depth qualitative case studies on the work of software developers, financial analysts, laboratory scientists and press officers.

His latest book is Graduate Work Skills, Credentials, Careers, and Labour Markets (Oxford University Press, 2017) The book examines some of the assumptions placed on graduate work, graduate jobs, graduate skills, and graduate careers. It provides valuable insights how we can understand the meaning of graduate work within a rapidly changing economic, technological, and organizational context.

Based on in-depth qualitative case studies of software developers, financial analysts, laboratory scientists, and press officers, the book shows that the graduate labour market is more heterogeneous than often is understood. What counts as graduate work remains contested and under constant reinterpretation and re-negotiation. Access to work, job performance, and career advancement are not necessarily driven by university qualifications and skills associated with Higher Education. The book begins to explore how and to what extent, those workers with university degrees are defined by their educational experiences, status, and qualifications.


  • –present
    Senior Lecturer in Sociology, City, University of London


  • 2011 
    Cardiff University, PhD in Sociology