Professor Michael Tomlinson

Professor Michael Tomlinson


Research interests

  • Education, employment and employability
  • Transitions from education to work
  • Career capitals and resources

More research

Accepting applications from PhD students.


Michael is Co-Director of the Leadership, Effective Education and Policy (LEEP) research centre and is also the Southampton Education School’s Research Impact Champion.

His research draws principally on sociological approaches to the education/work nexus and has substantive interests in higher education policy, labour markets, employability and marketisation. An ongoing theme in his research is the construction of identities and how policy and social changes impact on institutions and stakeholders. His work combines critical conceptual analysis with an interest in developing practical tools and resources that can aid future career progression. He has applied theories of capitals, credentialism, value and identity to address these issues.

He has received research funding from the ESRC, UKRI, Research England, Higher Education Academy (Advance HE), HEFCE (OfS) and the Greek Education Ministry to develop this research agenda. He is on the editorial boards of Journal of Education and Work, Higher Education, British Journal of Sociology of Education and Higher Education Policy and has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Eastern Finland.

Career history

2022- Professorial Chair, Southampton Education School, University of Southampton.

2016- Associate Professor, Southampton Education School, University of Southampton.

2011-2016 - Lecturer, Southampton Education School, University of Southampton.

2008-2011 - Lecturer, School of Public Policy, Keele University.

2007-2008 - Research Associate, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University.

2005-2006 -  ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University.