John Forth

John Forth is a Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management at Bayes Business School (formerly Cass). He is an applied social scientist with a background in labour economics and employment relations.

Research Interests

John’s research focuses on the management and organisation of work and its implications for employees and economic performance. He has a particular interest in pay and rewards.

Work in the area of employment relations has focused on patterns of workplace representation, trade union effectiveness and conflict at work. This has included a substantial role in the design and analysis of the long-running and internationally-renowned series of Workplace Employment Relations Surveys (WERS). Major publications include The Evolution of the Modern Workplace (CUP), Employment Relations in the Shadow of Recession (Palgrave) and Comparative Workplace Employment Relations: An Analysis of Britain and France (Palgrave).

John’s research on pay and rewards has focused on methods of wage determination. This work has charted the declining influence of trade unions on pay levels, but also shown their enduring influence on other aspects of the employment relationship, including work-life balance. Recent work has also focused on the prevalence and impact of performance-related pay, showing the role that it played in facilitating wage flexibility in Britain through recession.

The third strand of John’s research focuses on economic performance, particularly productivity. Particular interests include the effects of trade unions on workplace productivity and profits, and the productivity performance of low-wage sectors. John recently co-authored a chapter on Britain’s productivity performance for a CUP-published book on Productivity Puzzles in Europe.


  • 1990-1993 – UMIST, Manchester
    BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Management Sciences (First class)
  • 1994-1995 – University of Warwick
    MA Industrial Relations (awarded with distinction)


  • ​2016-present – Fellow, National Institute of Economic and Social Research
  • 2011-2016 – Principal Research Fellow, National Institute of Economic and Social Research
  • 2004-2011- Research Fellow, National Institute of Economic and Social Research
  • 2000-2004 – Senior Research Officer, National Institute of Economic and Social Research
  • 1998-2000 – Research Officer, National Institute of Economic and Social Research
  • 1995-1998 – Research Officer, Policy Studies Institute

Additional Information

John’s research has been published in a range of international journals, including The Economic Journal, the British Journal of Industrial Relations, Human Relations, Industrial Relations, Labour Economics, and the Human Resource Management Journal, and has been covered by all of the major media outlets including The Financial Times, The Guardian, BBC News and Sky News.

Selected publications: