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Deskilling among ‘new’ EU migrants in Dublin

Post Specification

Post Title:

PhD Researcher in Sociology

Post Status:

48 months, Full-time

Starting Date:

September 2021


Department of Sociology, School of Social Sciences and Philosophy

Reports to:

Dr Elaine Moriarty; Prof Richard Layte


Trinity College Dublin (Dublin, Ireland)


Full PhD fees over 4 years (EU/NEU); stipend of Euro 20,000 per annum for 4 years; research allowance of Euro 2,500 per annum

Closing Date:

29 March 2021

PhD Position:

The Department of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) seeks to appoint an outstanding and highly motivated PhD candidate with excellent qualifications for a period of 4 full years (48 months). The successful candidate will conduct an innovative PhD project that examines the ‘deskilling’ amongst EU nationals living and working in Dublin. Deskilling occurs when a person is employed in a job below their skill or education levels and recent research has shown that deskilling is widespread among highly educated EU nationals from ‘new’ EU member states (countries that joined the EU in the 2004 and 2007 enlargements). Using a two year qualitative panel study (QPS) to track the experiences and strategies of well- educated EU migrants in 4 employment sectors in Dublin, this project seeks to examine the micro level processes involved in the production of deskilling and to examine the phenomenon from a multi-perspective over time. To understand how demand for labour contributes to deskilling, interviews will be conducted with key stakeholders in the labour market including employers, trades unions and state agencies.

The project provides the PhD candidate with the opportunity to conduct policy relevant empirical research that will produce new knowledge on the phenomenon of the underemployment, over-education or downward professional mobility of well-educated EU nationals living in Dublin. The PhD candidate will also gain a sound theoretical grounding in the sociology of migration and employment. The candidate will be integrated into a dynamic group of PhD candidates in the Department of Sociology and within the research theme of Migration, Identity and Integration. The candidate will receive advanced training in the methodology of the social sciences including statistical analysis and qualitative longitudinal data analysis along with project management, communication skills and approaches to the dissemination of research findings.

The project is funded by the TCD Provost PhD Award, a prestigious award from Trinity College Dublin. The Department of Sociology, under the leadership of Professor Richard Layte, will provide all logistical, academic and intellectual support by integrating the PhD candidate into a dynamic network of social science doctoral candidates located within the Department of Sociology.

Candidates with a strong interest in migration studies, employment studies, life-course research, qualitative longitudinal research, an MA, MSc or MPhil in Sociology, Social Research, Social Policy, Migration studies, and strong training in advanced social science methodologies, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Standard duties of the post

  • Critical, systematic and analytical review of relevant literature the project.
  • Conducting empirical research using a qualitative panel study.
  • Writing academic pieces (articles/dissertation chapters) in English.
  • Writing and submitting research papers for publication and contributing to join projects or related submissions with the PhD supervisor (s).
  • Organising and attending meetings, workshops and conferences.
  • Disseminating academic work to specialised and general audiences.
  • 4 hours of teaching per week during the statutory teaching term (facilitating undergraduate tutorials).

Person Specification


  • MA, MSc or MPhil in Sociology, Social Policy, Migration Studies, Employment studies or cognate fields (thesis should be either defended or submitted).

Essential research skills

  • An analytical, independent and systematic approach to research.
  • Ability to adopt an interdisciplinary approach.
  • High-level training in advanced social science methodologies.
  • Familiarity with diverse data collection techniques (e.g., interviewing; questionnaire design).
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills using English language.
  • Good organisational skills and ability to engage in team work.

Other essential skills

  • Engage in public dissemination of the project results.
  • Motivation to publish in high-impact scientific journals.
  • Willingness to contribute to the development of the project.
  • Contributing to the intellectual and academic community of Sociology TCD.
  • Contribute to the teaching programme of Sociology TCD.


The Department of Sociology
Sociology is a member of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, one of 24 Schools within Trinity College. The Department’s principal research clusters are: Employment, education and stratification; Migration, integration and identities; Power, conflict and resistance; Social network analysis and digitalisation. The Department has a great variety of international sociologists with a high profile, becoming increasingly international, and combining the use of advanced quantitative methods applied to real-world data with the use of sophisticated and diverse qualitative methodologies. Our research links to several College priority research themes: International Integration centred within Trinity Research in the Social Sciences (TRISS), Identities in Transformation within the Trinity Long Room Hub (TLRH) and Inclusive Society. The department has a long-standing collaboration with one of Ireland’s premier research institutes, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). Members of the Department have successfully obtained NORFACE, IRC, H2020 funding.
The Department has an active postgraduate programme. It is home to an MSc in Comparative Social Change, delivered jointly with University College Dublin, as well as an MPhil in Race, Ethnicity, Conflict. It has a structured PhD programme combining advanced methodological training with transferrable skills workshops. There are over 20 PhD students and our doctoral graduates have positions in academic institutions, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

Further information on the Department of Sociology is available at

School of Social Sciences and Philosophy
The School of Social Sciences and Philosophy was formed in 2005 and comprises the Departments of Economics, Philosophy, Political Science and Sociology, together with the Policy Institute. With over 45 full time academic staff, the School has an international reputation in research and is committed to the dissemination of its knowledge and expertise to the benefit of the wider community, with the Policy Institute providing an important channel for policy analysis and evaluation. The School is home to the unique undergraduate degree in PPES (Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology). It also contributes to undergraduate degrees in Economics and Social studies (BESS), and a range of Joint Honours Programmes. Over 100 graduate students are conducting research across the four disciplines.

Further information on the School is available at

Trinity College Dublin
Founded in 1592, Trinity College is at the nexus of tradition and innovation, offering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across 24 schools and three faculties: arts, humanities and social sciences; science, technology, engineering and maths; and health sciences. Spread across 47 acres in Dublin’s city centre, Trinity’s 17,000 strong student body comes from all 32 counties of Ireland, and 16% of students come from outside of the country. Of those, 40% are from outside the European Union, making Trinity’s campus cosmopolitan and bustling, with a focus on diversity.
As Ireland’s leading university, the pursuit of academic excellence through research and scholarship is at the heart of the Trinity education. Trinity is known for intellectual rigour, excellence, interdisciplinary approach and research-led teaching. Home to Nobel prize winners across the world to its historic campus each year, including to the Book of Kells and Science Gallery which capture the university’s connection to both old and new. Trinity accounts for one-fifth of all spin out companies from Irish higher education institutions, helping to turn Ireland into an innovative intensive, high productivity economy. That culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is a defining characteristic of our campus as we help shape the next generation of job creators.

Further information on Trinity College is available at

Equal Opportunities Policy
Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to the employment policies, procedures and practices which do not discriminate on grounds such as gender, civil status, family status, age, disability, race, religious belief, sexual orientation or membership of the Travelling community.


Application Procedure

Application deadline: 29 March 2021

Informal enquiries: contact Dr Elaine Moriarty (Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, TCD;

Candidates should submit the following documentation via email (no later than March 29 2021) to Dr Elaine Moriarty ( and cc. Prof Richard Layte (

  1. A motivation letter clearly indicating how the applicant’s profile and skills fit the requirements of this PhD position  (max. 2 pages);
  2. A full curriculum vitae;
  3. Names, affiliation, and contact details of 2 referees (with their email addresses included);
  4. One example (at least) of a written piece –expected in English– showing the analytical, writing, and empirical skills of the candidate in a social science discipline.