Sarah Vickerstaff

Professor of Work and Employment, University of Kent

I am a Professor of Work and Employment at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research.

My main research interests are in the changes to the relationship between paid work and the life course, in particular at the beginning and end of working life.

The parallels between debates on the changing nature of ageing at the end of the life course and at the beginning are striking. The literature on youth transitions has been grappling with the problem of understanding the experience of youth and emerging adulthood in societies where the traditional routes from school to work and family home to independent living seem to have become less secure and more fragmented. Young people in Britain no longer make cohort related “mass transitions” into work at given ages; the routes and pathways have apparently become more complex and varied. This provides a parallel with the discussion of the break up of mass transitions into retirement for men at 65 and women at 60. Routes into retirement and older age and their timing have also apparently become more complex and varied.

I am currently PI for an ESRC/MRC funded research consortium undertaking a mixed method study of: Uncertain Futures: Managing Late Career Transitions and Extended Working Life.

I joined the University of Kent in 1984 from the City of London Polytechnic. During my career I’ve been a Lecturer in Industrial Relations, Human Resources Management and a Reader in Employment Policy and Practice. I was promoted to Professor of Work and Employment in 2004.

I completed my PhD in Sociology, passed without revision, at the University of Leeds and my BSc in Sociology with First Class (Honours) at the University of Leicester.


  • –present
    Professor of Work and Employment, University of Kent