Newcastle University Business School

Staff Profile

Dr David Lain

Senior Lecturer in Employment Studies and Degree Programme Director for the Global Human Resource Management MSc


I am a Senior Lecturer in Employment Studies at Newcastle University Business School and Degree Programme Director for the Global Human Resource Management MSc.

My teaching and research explores the organisation, management and experience of work and how this varies between different countries. My research has tended to focus on the factors influencing employment in older age, the management and experiences of older workers, and prospects for the future of retirement. I have a particular interest in how pressure to extend working lives impact on older workers, organisations and society.

I have been exploring these issues, through research and teaching, for the last two decades. I began my academic career as a Research Officer at the Institute for Employment Studies in 2000, working on a range of projects funded by the UK government and the European Commission. Following this I completed a PhD in Sociology at the University of Sussex, which explored employment beyond age 65 in the UK and USA. I then worked at the University of Brighton Business School between 2008 and 2017, progressing to the position of Senior Research Fellow.

I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Gerontological Society of America, the British Society of Gerontology and the Social Policy Association.

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My research has mostly focused on issues related to older workers and retirement. In recent years I have been particularly interested in the impact of pressures (and opportunities) to extend working lives on older people, organisations and society. I am a sociologist by background, and I'm interested in how this is influenced by the inter-play between changes to work, welfare/policy and families.

I have published 16 journal articles on this and allied topics, alongside a book, six book chapters and a number of reports for the UK government and European Commission. My book, 'Reconstructing Retirement', explored prospects for extended working lives in the UK and USA; this was nominated for two book awards and received positive reviews in six international academic journals. I have co-edited special issues for the journals Employee Relations, Social Policy and Society and Work Employment and Society. I was on the Associate Editorial Board of Work, Employment and Society from 2014-16 and was one of the organisers of the conference for this journal in 2010.

I am currently Series Editor of the Bristol University Press book series ‘Rethinking Work, Ageing and Retirement’. Please get in touch with me if you are interested in writing a book for the series. I am also co-editing a special issue Sociological Frontiers on the topic of 'New Pathways in Retirement Research'.

I led the Economic and Social Research Council 'Rethinking Retirement' seminar series between 2011 and 2012. Between 2011 and 2014 I held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship. From 2014 to 2017 I was a co-investigator on the Economic and Social Research Council project 'Uncertain Futures: Managing Late-Career Transitions and Extended Working Lives'. Publications from this project explored job transitions in older age and 'ontological precarity' among older workers, a topic that has become a key research interest of mine in recent years.

Alongside the above, I have worked with Professor Sarah Vickerstaff on the EU project 'Understanding the employment participation of older workers'. I have also completed qualitative research on grandparents and employment, working with the charity Grandparents Plus; this resulted in a recent article in Sociological Review. In addition, I am leading a UK team of Researchers for a cross-national project funded by the Norwegian Research Council that explores job transitions of older workers. We are currently writing/editing a book on this topic for Bristol University Press.

Over the years I have been invited to present my research to academic audiences at Hitotsubashi University (Japan, 2019), the London School of Economics (2019), the University of Miami (USA, 2018), the University of Edinburgh (2015 and 2013); Linnaeus University (Sweden, 2014); the University of Bremen (Germany, 2013) and the University of Birmingham (2013). I have also presented papers at 19 international academic conferences.

I have been fortunate in having the opportunity to disseminate my research to non-academic audiences. I have presented my research at events organised by the Age and Employment Network (London, 2017); the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Berlin, 2015); Age Northern Ireland (Belfast, 2014); European Economic and Social Committee of the European Parliament  (Brussels, 2013); and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (2012). I have provided advice and guidance on older-worker issues to a range of bodies including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Australian HR Institute. 

I have also organised two events on ageing with members of the general public as part of previous ESRC Festivals of Social Science. I  have provided media commentary on older workers and retirement to the Guardian newspaper, Mature Times, The Voice of Russia Radio, BBC Radio Scotland, Personnel Today, The Institute of Leadership and Management, and BBC Sussex Radio. 

For a full list of my research projects, grants, impact activities, esteem indicators and publications please see my Research CV.



I am the Degree Programme Director for the Global Human Resource Management MSc. 

During my career I have taught and led a range of modules spanning the fields of Human Resource Management, Organisational Behaviour, Academic Skills, Sociology and Politics. At Newcastle my teaching responsibilities relate to the following modules:

NBS8286 – People Management in Global Context – Module Leader.

NBS8326 – Managing Organisations and People - Module Leader.

NBS8387 – HRM in Cross-national Contexts – Module Leader.

I also contribute to the following modules:

BUS3006 - Managing Diversity 

NBS8383 Diversity in a Global Context

BUS3024 - Critical Perspectives on Human Resource Management

BUS3005 - Advanced Business Topics

I supervise undergraduate and MSc dissertations and Advanced Business Topics projects on issues related to the management of older workers.

I have supervised four PhD students to completion, two as lead Supervisor.  I have supervised projects on older workers in the UK, Germany and Denmark, the National Living Wage and Educational Maintenance Allowance. I have examined PhDs at the Universities of Edinburgh and Newcastle. I am particularly interested in hearing from people who want to want to conduct PhD research on older workers.

I am the External Examiner at the University of Edinburgh for the Business Management MA (Hons), Business with Human Resource Management MA (Hons), and Business and Law MA (Hons). I was previously an Admissions Selector for the Business Management BA Honours (N200) at Newcastle.

I enjoy teaching and have in the past been nominated for a Students Union Teaching Excellence Award.