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Dr Gerbrand Tholen

Senior Lecturer in Sociology

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology

Contact Information

Contact

Visit Gerbrand Tholen

D606, Rhind Building

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Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
London
EC1V 0HB
United Kingdom

About

Overview

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.

Qualifications

  1. PhD in Sociology, Cardiff University, United Kingdom
  2. MSc in Social Science Research Methods, Cardiff University, United Kingdom
  3. MA in Philosophy, University of Groningen, Netherlands
  4. MSc in Sociology, University of Groningen, Netherlands
  5. BSc in Sociology, University of Groningen, Netherlands
  6. BA in Philosophy, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Employment

  1. Senior Lecturer in Sociology, City, University of London, 2017 – present
  2. Lecturer in Sociology, City, University of London, 2015 – 2017
  3. British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) Department of Education, Oxford University, 2012 – 2015
  4. Research Officer, Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE) Department of Education, Oxford University, 2011 – 2012
  5. Research Associate, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, 2010 – 2011

Research

Research interests

The graduate labour market
Skills
Careers
Recruitment and selection
Higher Education
Unemployment scarring
Social closure
Occupations and professions
Occupational change
Social stratification
Educational inequalities

Publications

Books (2)

  1. Tholen, (2017). Skills, Credentials and Jobs in the Graduate Labour Market. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. Tholen, G. (2014). The changing nature of the graduate labour market: Media, policy and political discourses in the UK. ISBN 978-1-137-47907-5.

Chapters (3)

  1. Tholen, (2017). Higher Education and the Myths of Graduate Employability. In Waller, R., Ingram, N. and Ward, M.R.M. (Eds.), Higher Education and Social Inequalities Getting In, Getting on and Getting Out London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-138-21288-6.
  2. Brown, P., Lauder, H., Ashton, D. and Tholen, G. (2006). Towards a High-Skilled, Low-Waged Economy? A Review of Global Trends in Education, Employment and the Labour Market. In Porter, S. and Cambell, M. (Eds.), Skills and Economic Performance (pp. 55–90). London: Caspian Publishing.
  3. Lauder, H., Brown, P. and Tholen, G. The Global Auction Method, Skill Bias Theory and Graduate Incomes. Reflections on Methodology. In Lauder, H., Young, M., Daniels, H., Balarin, M. and Lowe, J. (Eds.), Educating for the Knowledge Economy? Critical Perspectives (pp. 43–66). Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-61507-5.

Journal Articles (12)

  1. Tholen, (2017). The Changing Opportunities of Professionalization for Graduate Occupations. Comparative Sociology, 16(5), pp. 613–633. doi:10.1163/15691330-12341438.
  2. Tholen, G. (2017). Symbolic Closure: Towards a Renewed Sociological Perspective on the Relationship between Higher Education, Credentials and the Graduate Labour Market. Sociology, 51(5), pp. 1067–1083. doi:10.1177/0038038516641857.
  3. Tholen, G., Relly, S.J., Warhurst, C. and Commander, J. (2016). Higher education, graduate skills and the skills of graduates: the case of graduates as residential sales estate agents. British Educational Research Journal, 42(3), pp. 508–523. doi:10.1002/berj.3222.
  4. Brown, P., Power, S., Tholen, G. and Allouch, A. (2016). Credentials, talent and cultural capital: a comparative study of educational elites in England and France. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 37(2), pp. 191–211. doi:10.1080/01425692.2014.920247.
  5. Power, S., Allouch, A., Brown, P. and Tholen, G. (2016). Giving something back? Sentiments of privilege and social responsibility among elite graduates from Britain and France. International Sociology, 31(3), pp. 305–323. doi:10.1177/0268580916629966.
  6. Allouch, A., Brown, P., Power, S. and Tholen, G. (2015). L'éthique des élites scolaires. Du mérite à la responsabilité chez les étudiants de sciences po Paris et de l'Université d'Oxford. Annee Sociologique, 66(1), pp. 193–224.
  7. Tholen, G. (2015). What can research into graduate employability tell us about agency and structure? British Journal of Sociology of Education, 36(5), pp. 766–784. doi:10.1080/01425692.2013.847782.
  8. Tholen, G. (2014). Graduate employability and educational context: A comparison between Great Britain and the Netherlands. British Educational Research Journal, 40(1), pp. 1–17. doi:10.1002/berj.3023.
  9. James, S., Warhurst, C., Tholen, G. and Commander, J. (2013). What we know and what we need to know about graduate skills. Work, Employment and Society, 27(6), pp. 952–963. doi:10.1177/0950017013500116.
  10. Power, S., Brown, P., Allouch, A. and Tholen, G. (2013). Self, Career and Nationhood: The contrasting aspirations of British and French elite graduates. British Journal of Sociology, 64(4), pp. 578–596. doi:10.1111/1468-4446.12048.
  11. Tholen, G., Brown, P., Power, S. and Allouch, A. (2013). The role of networks and connections in educational elites' labour market entrance. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 34, pp. 142–154. doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2013.10.003.
  12. Tholen, G. (2013). The Social Construction of Competition for Graduate Jobs: A Comparison between Great Britain and the Netherlands. Sociology, 47(2), pp. 267–283. doi:10.1177/0038038512444815.

Education

teaching

SG1027 Researching Society: Qualitative Methods (UG)
SG2021 Understanding Social Change (UG)

Roles

Dissertation coordinator
year 3 tutor

Other Activities

Editorial Activities (2)

  1. Work, Employment and Society, editorial board member.
  2. British Journal of Sociology of Education, editorial board member.