Co-Lead, Research Theme 2: Employers’ Digital Practices at Work Survey
University of Cambridge
+44 (0)1223 332148

My first degree was in Psychology from the University of Birmingham from 1977-80. From there I went to Warwick University to take a PhD in Social Psychology. My career then took a change of direction when, in 1985, I was appointed to the Department of Applied Economics at Cambridge as a Research Officer to assist in a project entitled the Social Change and Economic Life Initiative, working collaboratively with economists, social psychologists and sociologists on a variety of aspects of labour markets and their effects on individuals. In 1988 I transferred to take a Lectureship in the Faculty of Human, Social, and Political Science.

Since coming to Cambridge my research has concentrated mainly on the effects of labour market experiences (e.g. job insecurity, work intensification, bankruptcy, zero hours contracts, part-time work, unemployment, job quality, etc) on social and psychological well-being. I am also interested in self-employment in developed and developing countries, the quality of police jobs and the future of work, post-robotics and machine learning. I am a recognised expert on gender and employment within the EU, and works with many international organisations.

In addition to my position as a Professor, I am also the Director of Graduate Education within the department of Sociology and I was previously Head of Department.

Research interests
  • Future of work
  • Job quality
  • Self-employment
  • Work and wellbeing
Research articles

A Piasna, B Burchell, K Sehnbruch (2019) Job quality in European employment policy: one step forward, two steps back? Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research. Vol 2, 165-180.

Kamerade, D., Wang, S., Burchell, B., Balderson, S.U., & Coutts, A. (2019) A shorter working week for everyone: How much paid work is needed for mental health and well-being?  Social Science and Medicine.

Burchell, B. J., & Coutts, A. P. (2019). The Experience of Self-Employment Among Young People: An Exploratory Analysis of 28 Low- to Middle-Income Countries. American Behavioral Scientist, 63 (2), 147-165.

Annor, F., & Burchell, B. (2018). A cross-national comparative study of work demands/support, work-to-family conflict and job outcomes: Ghana versus the United Kingdom. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 18(1), 53–72.

Wood, A. J., & Burchell, B. (2018). Unemployment and Well-Being. In A. Lewis (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Psychology and Economic Behaviour (2nd ed., pp. 234–259). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Researchers present at BUIRA conference 2022

30 June 2022

Digit researchers discuss their work at the BUIRA Annual Conference

Digit researchers present at 40th International Labour Process Conference

26 April 2022

There were more than 15 presentations involving members of the Digit community at the 40th ILPC in Padua.

Call for papers: Digit researchers edit special issue of Cambridge Journal of Economics

2 March 2021

Digit researchers have issued a call for papers for a special issue of the Cambridge Journal of Economics on the Future of Work and Working Time.

Short-time working: part of the solution to an economic and wellbeing crisis?

8 June 2020

Brendan Burchell discusses whether short-time working might be the way forward for the UK

Digit’s Brendan Burchell discusses Covid-19 and working time in this video and blog

19 May 2020

Blog - Brendan Burchell discusses Covid-19 and working time.