Russell has worked with British Airways in the UK and has held a number of academic positions in universities within Australia and elsewhere.
He was a Senior Lecturer at Monash University before becoming an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Management at Macquarie University.
He was the foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training (an ARC Key Centre) at the University of Sydney.
He was Professor of industrial relations at the University of Sydney from 1987-2009 and was appointed Professor Emeritus in 2009.
He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and has been awarded honorary doctorates by Macquarie University in Australia and Lulea University of Technology in Sweden.