I joined Surrey Business School in 2018 after nine years at the University of Exeter Business School. Previous to that I have held posts at the University of Plymouth and Manchester Metropolitan University.
My research is interdisciplinary and theoretically grounded in psychology, management and sociology. I research a number of subjects bound by an interest in labour market disadvantage. Currently I am best known for my work that progresses the understanding of causes of pay gaps and pay inequality at the firm level. My latest papers are grounded in the analysis of organisation payroll data extracting learning about single-dimension and intersectional pay gaps / pay inequality using Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition methods. I show that women, and intersectional women and men are hindered in their prospects for equal pay by reward structures and their application by organisation elites.
Previously I have researched Chinese female managers and careers, disability equality plus disability studies methodology, diversity management, equal opportunities in SMEs and financing small business. My research is based in practice and applied in nature.I have published widely on these topics including articles in Human Resource Management, the Journal of Social Policy, Scandinavian Journal of Management, Human Resource Management Journal, and British Journal of Industrial Relations. Prior to an academic career I was a manager of people and operations in the hospitality sector and practiced in organisations in the UK and Australia. I have been a National Examiner for “Designing and Delivering Training” and Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and remain an External Moderator for them. I have been a consultant, author and adviser to the CIPD on the re-launch of their professional standards.
I enjoy applying my research skills to provide insight for individual employers - largely NHS Trusts and UK HE institutions - diagnosing patterns in wages between men and women, and further at the level of dual and multiple characteristics in order to co-develop best practice reward strategies to overcome pay gaps and pay inequality. My work results in a report and ongoing coaching relationship delivering advice on remedial strategies to eliminate pay gaps. It was recognised with the award of a high-profile national project - Overcoming Pay Gaps in Medicine sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care due for a COVID-delayed launch in 2020. I continue to conduct research on inequalities in the health sector.
Affiliations and memberships
18 MAR 2022
How Professor Carol Woodhams’ research into gender equality pay in medicine is narrowing the divide
02 SEP 2021
Research reveals women and ethnic minorities are less likely to reach top rank of surgeons
My research interests focus on the employment of disadvantaged groups including:
- the intersections of gender, disability, age and ethnicity linked to employment outcomes
- organisation-level pay gaps within multiple settings including the NHS and universities
- gender and careers in China
- theoretical diversity and equality
Recent grant awards:
Sept 2020: £9,950*
The progression gap in Medicine: a longitudinal analysis addressing why fewer women and BAME doctors are promoted to consultant posts. British Academy/ Leverhulme Application SRG20\201341
March 2020: £13,000*
QS Strategic Development Fund. Career Progression in Medicine: pilot analysis.
March 2019: £22,000*
NHS England on review project Two Literature and Evidence Reviews for the Unified Information Standard for Protected Characteristics (UISPC) Scoping Project (with Tara Reich, Rashpal Dhensa-Kahlon and YingFei Heliot)
May 2018: £115,147*
Gender Pay Gaps in Medicine. The Department of Health and Social Care (with Prof Carol Atkinson, Dr Jo Blanden, Dr Duncan Brown, Dr Ioannis Laliotis, Dr Mark Williams and Sheila Wild)
Feb 2016: £31,980*
The ESRC GW4 Pay Equality Research Consortium (with Dr Emma Jeanes, Dr Alison Parken, Dr Susan Milner, Dr Gregory Schwarz and Rhys Davies.
May 2015: £15,700*
The ESRC GW4 Pay Equality Research Consortium (with Dr Alison Parken, Cardiff, Professor Harriet Bradley, Bristol and Dr Susan Harkness, Bath)
July 2011: £45,000*
‘Educating the next Generation of HR professionals’ Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
Woodhams, C, Lupton, B, Perkins, G and Cowling, M (2015), "Multiple Disadvantage and Wage Growth: The effect of merit pay on pay gaps", Human Resource Management. Available online DOI 10.1002/hrm21692 JQG4 IF 1.817
Woodhams, C, Xian, H, and Lupton, B (2014) “Women Managers’ Careers in China: Theorizing the Influence of Gender and Collectivism” Human Resource Management. Available online DO1 10.1002/HRM 21643 JQG4 IF 1.817
Woodhams, C, Lupton, B and Cowling, M (2014) "The presence of ethnic minority and disabled men in feminised work: Intersectionality, vertical segregation and the glass escalator." Sex Roles: A Journal of Research (DOI: 10.1007/s11199-014-0427-z) IF 1.73
Woodhams, C, Lupton, B and Cowling, M. (2013 Reissued Jan 2015) The Snowballing Penalty Effect: Multiple Disadvantage and Pay. British Journal of Management DOI: 10.1111/1467-8551.12032 JQG4 IF 2.982
Woodhams, C and Lupton, B (2014),"Transformative and emancipatory potential of intersectionality research", Gender in Management: An International Journal, Vol. 29 Iss 5 pp. 301 - 307. JQG1 IF 1.000
Metcalfe, B and Woodhams, C (2012) New Directions in Gender, Diversity and Organization Theorizing – Re-imagining Feminist Post-colonialism, Transnationalism and Geographies of Power. International Journal of Management Reviews Volume 14, Issue 2, June 2012. JQG3 IF 3.333
Jayawarna, D, Woodhams, C and Jones, O (2012) Gender and alternative start-up business funding. Competition and Change Volume 16, Number 4, October 2012 , pp. 303-322(20) JQG2 IF 1.812
Woodhams, C., & Lupton, B (2009). Analysing gender-based diversity in SMEs. Scandinavian Journal of Management Vol 25 pp. 203 – 231. JQG2 IF 1.45
Woodhams, C, Xian, H and Lupton, B (2009), ‘Furthering Equal Opportunity in China: Sex Discrimination and Gender Segregation in Chinese Labour markets’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol 20, no 10, pp. 2084-2019 JQG3 IF 1.65
Woodhams, C and Corby, S (2007) Then and Now: Disability Legislation and Employers’ Practices in the UK British Journal of Industrial Relations. 45:3 Sept 2007 pp. 556 – 580. JQG 4 IF 1.868
Woodhams, C and Lupton, B (2006) ‘Equal Opportunities Policy and Practice in Small Firms: The Impact of HR Professionals’. Human Resource Management Journal Vol. 16, No 1, pp. 74-97 JQG 4 IF 2.147
Reports and book chapters.
Dacre, J and Woodhams, (forthcoming) Gender Pay Gaps in Medicine Review Department of Health and Social Care, Quarry House, Leeds.
Reich, T, Dhensa-Kahlon, R, Heliot Y, & Woodhams C (forthcoming) Literature and Evidence Reviews for the Unified Information Standard for Protected Characteristics (UISPC) Scoping Project Report for NHS England.
MSc HRM Leading Managing People MANM484 (contributor)
MSc HRM Contemporary Employee Relations MANM346 (module leader)
MSc HRM Employee Resourcing MANM466 (contributor)
Academic studies of gender pay gaps within higher education institutions have consistently found pay differences. However, theory on how organisation-level factors contribute to pay gaps is underdeveloped. Using a framework of relational inequalities and advanced quantitative analysis, this paper makes a case that gender pay gaps are based on organisation-level interpretations and associated management practices to reward ‘merit’ that perpetuate inequalities. Payroll data of academic staff within two UK Russell Group universities (N = 1,998 and 1,789) with seeming best-practice formal pay systems are analysed to determine causes of gender pay gaps. We find marked similarities between universities. Most of the variability is attributed to factors of job segregation and human capital, however we also delineate a set of demographic characteristics that, when combined, are highly rewarded without explanation. Based on our analysis of the recognition of ‘merit,’ we extend theoretical explanations of gender pay gap causes to incorporate organisation-level practices.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is heavily reliant on migrant labour to deliver essential services. While evidence indicates that overseas doctors have less positive career outcomes that may result in pay gaps in comparison to UK-trained counterparts, extant theoretical explanations have been slow to consider the crucial role of workplace practices, and the degree to which pay gaps differ between multiple identity sub-groups. Adopting an intercategorical approach to analyse statistical survey data from 5,753 NHS doctors, we examine how pay gaps stem from career barriers and management support in male and female International Medical Graduate, European Economic Area and UK doctors. Our findings provide insights into intersectional variations in career barriers and pay gaps for skilled medical migrants which point to penalties for migrants, especially migrant ethnicized women. Based on our findings we extend the literature in two ways. First, we extend theoretical explanations of pay gaps by conceptualizing pay differences as a complex multi-layered concept that embrace workplace practices as well as intersecting demographic identities. Second, we contribute to theory on skilled migration by highlighting the counter-intuitive shape of management support on migrants’ careers and diversifying extant understandings of constraint and enablement in migrant careers.
Objectives: To identify differences in average basic pay between groups of National Health Service (NHS) doctors cross-classified by ethnicity and gender. Analyse the extent to which characteristics (grade, specialty, age, hours etc.) can explain these differences. Design: Retrospective observational study using repeated cross-section design. Setting: Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) in England. Participants: All HCHS doctors in England employed by the NHS between 2016 and 2020 appearing in the Digital Electronic Staff Record dataset (average N=99,953 per year). Main outcome measures. Hours-adjusted full-time equivalent pay gaps; given as raw data and controlled for demographic, job, and workplace characteristics (such as grade, specialty, age, whether British nationality, region) using multivariable regression and statistical decomposition techniques. Results. Pay gaps relative to white men vary with the ethnicity-gender combination. Indian men slightly out-earn white men and Bangladeshi women have a 40% pay gap. In most cases, pay gaps can largely be explained by characteristics that can be measured, especially grade, with the extent varying by specific ethnicity-gender group. However, a portion of pay gaps cannot be explained by characteristics that can be measured. Conclusions. This study presents new evidence on ethnicity-gender pay gaps among NHS doctors in England using high quality administrative and payroll data. The findings indicate all ethnicity-gender groups earn less than white men on average, except for Indian men. In some cases, these differences cannot be explained giving rise to discussions about the role of discrimination.