Portrait of Dr Heejung Chung

Dr Heejung Chung

Reader in Sociology and Social Policy
Director, Welfare State Research Cluster


Dr Heejung Chung is a Reader in Sociology and Social Policy and a member of Kent's Q-Step Centre.

She completed her PhD in Sociology at the ReflecT, Tilburg University and AIAS/HSI, University of Amsterdam, her MSc in Research in Social Policy from Edinburgh University’s School of Social and Political Studies and her MSW major in Social Policy and BA in Social Welfare from Yonsei University.

Dr Chung's research visits and training have included Manchester University, Social Science Research Centre in Berlin (WZB), Germany, Essex University and Aalborg University, Denmark.

Research interests

Dr Chung's research interests are broadly around issues concerning cross-national comparative analysis of welfare states and their labour markets.

Dr Chung is currently researching how working time flexibility impacts an individual's work-life balance, and the role of contexts in moderating that influence and how welfare state institutions and socio-economic factors shape individual's perceived employment insecurity. She is using multilevel modelling, looking at cross-national/European data, and qualitative methods, including interviews and policy analyses, as well as other quantitative methods focusing on the examination of latent factors. 

Dr Chung's key interests include

  • European welfare states and labour markets
  • Subjective employment insecurity
  • Working time flexibility and job autonomy
  • Work-life balance and work-family conflict
  • Gender equality and gender norms
  • Cross-national data and European data 
  • Multi-level modelling and other advance quantitative methods
  • Policy and document analysis.

Current projects

  See Dr Chung's website for full details.  


Dr Chung currently convenes undergraduate modules on the welfare state and gender, work and equality. She also lectures on issues around gender and labour markets on social policy and sociology programmes. 

Previously, she convened a postgraduate module on the analysis of quantitative data and ran several methods workshops, including Multilevel modelling workshops at the University of Kent, Tilburg University and University of Hamburg.  


Dr Chung is supervising a number of students including undergraduates, MAs and PhDs. Current PhDs include:

  • Jane Hyojin Seo (2018-) - 'Feminization of Outside Labour Market in East Asia' 
  • Alafaka Tobin (2018-) - 'Burn out and migration intention among physicians in Nigeria' 
  • Gianna Maria Eick (2017-) - 'Attitudes towards immigrants among higher educated population'
  • Joe Warriner (2017 -) - 'How do the child care practices of fathers change their understandings of masculinity?'
  • Silvia Girardi (committee member at KU Leuven) (2015 - ) - 'Social assistance in Europe in relation to the different labour markets'
  • Marc Wigley (2013 -) - 'Social capital, welfare and well-being: implications for the social economy'


Recent Awards and Prizes

  • Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work/Family Research 2019: Longlisted
  • Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work/Family Research 2017: top 5 finalist
  • Academic Champion 2015: University of Kent 50th anniversary award
  • Rosemary Crompton Prize 2010: Work Employment Society Conference Best Paper Prize 

Recent editorial

  • Associate Editor for the Journal Social Policy & Administration (2019 -)
  • Editorial Board member for the journal Journal of Korean Welfare State and Social Policy (11/2016 - current)
  • Co-editor of the Policy Press Book Series ‘Research in Comparative and Global Social Policy’ (2016 - current)
  • Editorial Board member for the journal Social Policy & Administration (2015 - current)

Dr Chung has reviewed papers for several journals including; American Sociological Review, Work and Occupations, European Sociological Review, British Journal of Industrial Relations, Social Forces, Journal of European Social Policy, International Journal of Social Welfare.

Board membership

  • Executive board member for the Work and Families Researchers Network (WFRN) (2019 - current) 
  • Executive board member for the European Social Policy Analysis Network (ESPAnet) (2019- current) 
  • Co-lead for the WFRN network special Interest group Economic and Public Policy (2015 - current) 

Recent reviewing work 

  • Grant reviews for the Euopean Commission H2020 (2018) 
  • Grant review for the European Research Council (2017) 
  • Grant reviews for the FWO (Flemish Science Foundation) - March 2014; July 2014 
  • Grant Reviews for the Economic and Social Research Council (several occasions)

Most recent/important impact work

  • April 2019: Advising the BEIS team on the development of the new wave of the WERS/WLB employee survey focusing issues around flexible working. 
  • March 2019: The Government Equalities Office published a series of action notes for employers on how to tackle the gender pay gap, for which Dr Chung provided assistance. She has also sat in the panel discussion to launch the advice in the City of London. 
  • December 2018: Working with the BEIS team regarding the on going review of the right to request flexible working.
  • November 2018: Invited by the UK Cabinet Office to join the Shared Parental Leave evaluation academic advisory panel. 
  • October 2018: Invited by the UK Department for Business and Energy & Industrial Strategies (BEIS) as an adviser for redeveloping the new wage of the Maternity & Paternity Leave Survey 2019. 
  • December 2017: The final report of Dr Chung's ESRC project is used as evidence for the European Economic and Social Committee's opinion supporting the European Commission's proposal on the directive on Work-life balance of working parents and care givers: Read it here 
  • 2016: Dr Chung's paper on flexible working with Yvonne Lott has been cited in the White paper of the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affair on Future of Work (Arbeit 4.0). 

For more, see Dr Chung's website.


Dr Chung talks about whether flexible working can reduce the gender pay gap Flexible working and the gender pay gap

Work-life balance - Dr Chung talks about the gender pay gap (2018)

Flexible working - a ThinkKent video lecture (2016)

Dr Chung's frequent media appearances are listed on her website.

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