Professor Sue Durbin

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About me

I am a Professor in Human Resource Management and lead the Human Resources, Work and Employment Group, in the Faculty of Business and Law, University of the West of England (UWE) where I am also Chair of the Women Researchers' Mentoring Scheme. My research expertise is in women's non-traditional employment in male dominated industries, including commercial pilots, scientists, engineers and senior managers. I also specialise in reduced hours working and job sharing at managerial levels. I am a co-founder of the alta mentoring platform (in partnership with the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Royal Air Force, Airbus and Little Blue Private Jets Ltd, funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council and partners). Alta is a bespoke, industry-wide mentoring platform designed for professional women in the aviation and aerospace industry. I have published my work in a number of leading academic journals and am the author of, Women Who Succeed: strangers in Paradise? (2015) published by Palgrave Macmillan. I work with organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, to improve gender equality and mentoring support for women. I am a member of the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Committee and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. I am also a Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. 

Area of expertise

The predominant focus of my research is gender inequalities in employment and gendered organization practices, which has involved the analysis of occupations such as front-line service work, senior management, aviation, science and engineering. My two most recent projects are (1) the careers of male and female pilots and pilot trainers, with a specific focus upon why women are under-represented in both roles (in collaboration with the Royal Aeronautical Society and funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund); and (2) reduced hours working at senior and executive levels (funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust). Previous projects have included: investigating and meeting the mentoring needs of professional women in the aviation and aviation industry; the under-representation of women in senior management in an international engineering company/closing the gender pay gap; a gender comparative study of the value of non-executive directors to small and medium size enterprises; senior women's careers across the public and private sectors in the UK; the promotional prospects, career mobility, aspirations and networking experiences of female part-time managers; a comparative study of the educational backgrounds and careers of male and female engineers and scientists; and the relationship between feminist definitions of power and female engineers' internal and external networking. 


I am an Editorial Review Board member and have co-guest edited two special issues for the Gender, Work and Organization journal (3* ABS) (Gender Equality and 'Austerity': Vulnerabilities, Resistance, and Change (2017); and Working in Non-traditional Employment Roles: understanding and breaking down the barriers to gender segregation (2022). I am a Committee Member, European Sociological Association, Research Network 14 (RN14) Gender Relations in the Labour Market and the Welfare State; a member of the Women in Business Task Group, Bristol Women's Commission, Bristol City Council; Board Member, Fair Play South West (the South West gender equality network); and a Founding Member, Transpire Director Network. I am also an External Examiner, Keele University, MSc HRM (2019-2022) and was a Visiting Professor, Work and Organisation Studies, University of Sydney Business School, (2018). 


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