Decent Work in the 21st Century

Inaugural Decent Work in the 21st Century Research Symposium, hosted by QUT Centre for Decent and Work and Industry.

2nd & 3rd December, 2021, Brisbane.

Hybrid format: Face-to-face and online (Covid restrictions pending).

Critical Perspectives in Decent Work

Work and industry are changing rapidly in new and unexpected ways shaped by, among other things, evolving digital technologies, globalisation and circular migration, normalisation of corporate social responsibility, shifting regulatory and accountability measures, and pandemics and disasters. Critical approaches to the shifting landscapes of work and industry are required to achieve an equitable future providing equal access to decent work and the social protections, rights, and fair remuneration this encompasses.

The symposium theme critical perspectives in decent work is offered as an opportunity to explore contemporary and future dimensions and intersections of decent work, quality higher education and responsible industry.

We invite presentations from all disciplines including, but not limited to, critical management studies, economic and cultural geography, sociology, public relations, human resources management, organisational and social psychology, youth and disability studies, education systems, critical social marketing, gender, environmental and social policy, and organisation studies.

Keynote Speakers & Guest Presenters

We are now seeking abstracts under three broad themes: Sustainable transitions, work and employment, and responsible governance.

Sustainable transitions
Sustainable transitions to decent work involve equity of access to and participation in quality education and work experience and work-integrated learning opportunities. We invite abstracts that problematise the link between employability and employment outcomes and the impacts of labour market conditions, employer perspectives, changing industry requirements and the policy environment on employment outcomes.

Program Convenors: Dr Melinda Laundon and A/Prof Deanna Grant-Smith

Work and employment
Work and employment are central to social and economic wellbeing. We invite abstracts that interrogate in/equalities of work e.g. socioeconomic, cultural, gendered inequalities—and that examine the lived experiences of paid, unpaid and unwaged work in both private and public spheres.

Program Convenors: Dr Penny Williams and A/Prof Robyn Mayes

Responsible governance
Responsible governance underpins just work and industry. We invite abstracts that interrogate institutional responses to global socioeconomic and environmental challenges focusing on regulatory settings, stakeholder engagement and social responsibility with a particular focus on sustainability, engagement, and accountability.

Program Convenors: Dr Bree Hurst and Prof Ross Gordon


The symposium will take place at QUT on the unceded lands of the sovereign Turrbal and Yugara First Nations peoples. Paying respect to their Elders, lores, customs and creation spirits, we recognise that these lands have always been places of research.

The format will be short paper presentations and panels followed by Q&A.

Responding to volatile Covid-19 restrictions, and the diversity of health considerations, the conference will include both in-person and online sessions.


  • Academics $60.00
  • Sessional Academics and/or PhD students Free

Register here.


We are offering 3 bursaries to attend the symposium.  One is available for an early career researcher and two are available for HDR students.  Each of the bursaries will include a return economy airfare and overnight accommodation in Brisbane. Bursaries will be awarded at the discretion of the Symposium Organising Committee based on thematic fit.

Organising Committee

Symposium Chairs

Symposium Coordination

Nicki Hall
Alicia Feldman