Laura Airey Headshot

Senior Research Fellow and Project Manager: Supporting Healthy Ageing at Work (SHAW) study

+44 (0)131 651 1035

Roles and Responsibilities

I am a Senior Research Fellow and project manager for the UKRI-funded SHAW study (Supporting Healthy Ageing at Work).

Other responsibilities:

  • Board member, genderED
  • Member, UEBS Equality & Diversity Committee
  • Member, UEBS Research Committee


2002: PhD (Social Geography, University of Edinburgh)  

1998: MA Geography & Social Policy (University of Edinburgh, First Class honours)

I am a qualitative social science researcher. My interdisciplinary research background spans the fields of social geography, social policy, the sociology of health and illness, and health inequalities. Prior to joining the Business School in 2016, I spent several years as a researcher at the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh.

My research is in the field of ageing and employment, with a particular focus on how gender, health and informal caring responsibilities interact to shape men and women’s experiences of work in later life. My research takes a lifecourse approach to explore how older workers’ experiences of paid and unpaid work in later life, and their plans around retirement timing, are influenced by their past and present social and domestic contexts.

I work with Professor Wendy Loretto to examine the implications, for both employers and older workers, of Extended Working Life policies in the UK. Our research findings have:

  • Informed the development of Scottish Government policies to improve older workers’ labour market position; 
  • Underpinned development of Age Scotland’s Age Inclusive Matrix (AIM), an innovative ‘age-inclusion’ HR consultancy service. Through participation in AIM, organisations across Scotland have implemented policies and practices to support older workers.
  • Raised the profile of age inclusion in the diversity agenda of Scottish employers, via the age@work employers’ network, a community of employers who are committed to making their workplaces more age-inclusive, established in collaboration with Age Scotland, CIPD Scotland and BITC Scotland.

Click the link below for more information about the impact of our research:

Research Taxonomy

Research Interests

Current research projects:

  • SHAW: Supporting Healthy Ageing at Work. This 3- year study started in March 2021. We will work with employers, employees, professional bodies and other key stakeholders, to deepen our understanding of how work and health are intertwined in older workers’ everyday lives. The aim of the study is to design innovative workplace interventions to support the health and well-being of older workers (aged 50+).
  • Dynamics of Accumulated Inequalities for Seniors in Employment (DAISIE). This is a 3-year, comparative study of the gender and health implications of extended working lives in five European countries (the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden and Czech Republic).

Recently completed research:

  • Older People and Employment, a study of the opportunities and challenges associated with Scotland’s ageing workforce, commissioned by Scottish Government in 2017.
  • Grandparenting and Employment, a study of interactions between grandparents’ employment trajectories and unpaid childcare provision in the UK.
  • Uncertain Futures; negotiating extended working lives, a study based on five case-study organisations in the UK.

Key research interests

  • Extended working lives
  • Gender, work and care over the lifecourse
  • Health and employment in later life
  • Social and spatial inequalities in health 

Research Area