PhD researcher project on employer behavior regarding inclusion and development of vulnerable worker

PhD researcher project on employer behavior regarding inclusion and development of vulnerable worker

Published Deadline Location
23 Jan 1 Mar Tilburg

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The Department of Human Resource Studies Tilburg University and TNO are looking for an enthusiastic PhD researcher for a research project on employer behavior regarding inclusion and development of vulnerable workers.

Job description

The PhD project is part of a collaboration between TNO and Tilburg University. The PhD researcher will be based at Tilburg University (Tilburg) for 50% of the time, and at TNO (Leiden) for 50% of the time.  


This project focusses on low-skilled persons with a vulnerable position on the labor market, i.e. 1 million persons in the Netherlands. These persons may be unemployed due to various reasons, or work in precarious jobs in the lower end of our labor market. For these persons, the current work context in which skills quickly become outdated is an additional challenge to achieve sustainable careers.


Given the relatively low and stable proportion of organizations offering sustainable employment to vulnerable workers, the present PhD study will take the employer as the starting point. The PhD researcher will investigate how the interests and needs of employers can be linked to the inclusion of vulnerable workers in their organizations (e.g. from intentions to actual inclusion), and the further development of these workers’ skills and knowledge. Furthermore, in this project we will investigate to what extent a strengths-based approach, building on the unique qualities of both the vulnerable workers and their employers, can promote the inclusion and professional development of these workers.


The present PhD study aims to contribute to the sustainable inclusion of vulnerable workers in our workforce. To do so, the following research questions will be answered:

  1. To what extent and how can the interests of employers be translated into the inclusion of vulnerable workers in their organizations?
  2. How can the interests of employers be translated into their support for continuous development of vulnerable workers?
  3. To what extent can a strengths-based approach, both on the level of the organization and the individual, create new and effective ways for employers to enhance their inclusive behavior?


To answer the research questions, data analysis will be conducted using databases such as PSO (Prestatieladder Sociaal Ondernemen), WEA (Werkgever Enquête Arbeid), STREAM (Study on Transitions in Employment Ability and Motivation) and CODI (Cohort Studie Duurzame Inzetbaarheid). Furthermore, new qualitative and quantitative data will be collected as part of ongoing intervention studies. 


Tilburg University


For the PhD project, we look for highly motivated, inquisitive, enthusiastic, and result-driven PhD candidates with an appropriate MSc degree (preferably research masters), for example in organizational psychology, educational sciences, Human Resource Management / Development, or in Social/ Health Sciences. Excellent research skills and analytical abilities are required as well as excellent communication skills and proficiency in English and Dutch (both oral and written). Finally, we look for candidates who like to work in a team and possess cooperative skills.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

The PhD candidate will be employed by Tilburg University, which is among the top of the Dutch employers and has an excellent policy concerning terms of employment. The appointments are intended to lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. The PhD appointment begins with a period of 12 months. Continuation of the appointment with another 36 months will be based on performance evaluation. The gross salary for the PhD position amounts € 2.325 per month in the first year, rising to € 2.972 per month in the fourth year, based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week).


Tilburg University and the department of Human Resource Studies

Tilburg University is a modern, specialized university. The teaching and research of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (TSB) are organized around the themes of Health, Organization, and Relations between State, Citizen, and Society. The School’s inspiring working environment challenges its workers to realize their ambitions; involvement and cooperation are essential to achieve this. 

Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences


The Department of Human Resource Studies within TSB is a well-established department with a strong reputation in academia. The department is well-known for its expertise on the balanced approach to strategic HRM, strength-based and lifespan approaches to HRM, and inclusive HRM. Tilburg has been the only university in the Netherlands to offer both a Bachelors and Masters program in HR Studies.


For more information about the HR Studies department and other members of staff, please visit:



TNO is an independent research organization whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competitiveness of companies and organizations, to the economy and to the quality of society as a whole. Innovation with purpose is what TNO stands for. With 3000 people TNO develops knowledge not for its own sake but for practical application. To create new products that make life more pleasant and valuable and help companies innovate. To find creative answers to the questions posed by society. TNO works for a variety of customers: governments, companies, service providers and non-governmental organizations. Working together on new knowledge, better products and clear recommendations for policy and processes; in everything TNO does, impact is the key. 


The department Sustainable Productivity and Employability (SPE), part of the unit Healthy Living consists of a motivated and collaborative team of more than 30 colleagues and operates from TNO Leiden. The group focuses on sustainable labour productivity, on an inclusive labour market and on the changes in and sustainability of work.


  • PhD
  • Behaviour and society
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • 16601



Warandelaan 2, 5037 AB, Tilburg

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