Associate Professor Robyn Mayes

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Doctor of Philosophy (Curtin University of Technology)

Robyn Mayes is an Associate Professor in the Queensland University of Technology Business School.  Her research is informed by a social justice agenda and critical feminist approaches.  Robyn’s work draws on the multi-stranded discipline of Human Geography and engages with the fields of Migration and Mobility scholarship. Core, interrelated research themes span corporate social responsibility and global production, gender in organisations, work and working in the gig economy, and labour migration and mobility. She has undertaken: substantial ethnographic work in mining-affected rural communities; qualitative case studies of the implications of Fly-in, Fly-out (FIFO) work patterns; and examined transnational temporary labour migration in the context of local communities.

Her most recent work explores intersections of work and digital futures; social change through global New Social Movements; gendered dynamics of social reproduction; and paid work in the digital economy. Robyn has published 2 edited books, over 40 journal articles and book chapters, including in top tier international journals and reference books, and is regularly invited to speak at a range of national and international fora. She has been principal or named investigator on ARC and industry grants attracting over $2million in research funds.

Through her service she seeks to contribute to social justice goals. For example, she is Director of the QUT Business Faculty Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research and Engagement Strategy (2020-222); Chairs the QUT Business Faculty Equity Committee, and is a board member of the Immigrant Women’s Emergency Support Service (2016 to present) and serves on the Federal Government Australian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) National Multi-Stakeholder Group.

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Select current projects

ARC Linkage Project (2021-23): Achieving gender equality in STEMM hospital and health service research: This project addresses the crucial and vexed question of why gender inequality remains pervasive and persistent in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) workforces, despite substantial and wide-ranging efforts to effect change. Specifically, it examines the systemic causes of gender inequality in hospital and health research environments, a highly under-researched area of national significance. The project will result in critically-informed, pragmatic strategies that enable health service organisations to detect and redress gender inequality. The research advances inclusive and effective STEMM workforces and, ultimately, world-leading health research practice and gender equality in Australia

CIs: Robyn Mayes (QUT Business School), Paula McDonald (QUT Business School), Janet Davies (QUT Faculty of Health; Metro North Hospital and Health Service) Christina Malatzky (QUT Faculty of Health ) Peter Frederiksen (QLD Health; Metro North Hospital and Health Service)      Partners: QLD Health; Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

ARC Discovery Project (2018-21) Work and workers in the digital economy: This  project investigates the organisation of paid platform work from the perspective of both workers and the intermediaries they use to find work. It focuses on the economic and socio-cultural motivations and experiences of platform workers and how companies, technologies and managerial strategies shape the nature of the work itself. The project will contribute to knowledge of workforce transitions and shifting work/home boundaries and inform the development of appropriate labour regulation.

CIs:  Paula McDonald (QUT), Robyn Mayes (QUT), Damian Oliver (UTS), Andrew Stewart (UofAdelaide) and Penny Williams (QUT).

CRC ORE: Navigating socio-political stakeholder environments  Using the debater around the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine as exemplar, the aim of this project is to identify the complex drivers and interactions of multiple stakeholders operating in the Australian mining sector’s social and political environment. From this, the project seeks to advance understandings of what might constitute ‘good mining.’

QUT Business School CIs : Robyn Mayes; Bree Hurst; Amelia Hine

Au Pairs in Australia: this research examines the growing presence of au pairs in Australian households and what this means for the division of caring labour, the meanings of motherhood, and the role of care work in women’s labour market participation.

Mobile/migrant labour: this work examines labour migration in both domestic (eg FIFO) and transnational (eg temporary labour migration in the resources sector) contexts with a focus on how this mobility is gendered, how it is experienced (emotionally and physically), along with intersections with corporate social responsibility.




Projects (Chief investigator)


Additional information

Robyn has conducted large-scale qualitative research projects in rural and regional communities and in collaboration with public sector organisations culminating in substantial public reports.

Membership of Review Panels on Prestigious Grant Applications
Reference year
Appointment to Australian Research Council Selection Advisory Committee (2020-2021)
Achieving Gender Equality in STEMM Hospital and Health Service Research
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year
Working the Gig Economy: The Organisation of Digital Platform Work
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year