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Dr Fiona Macdonald

Position: Senior Research Fellow
College / Portfolio: Business
School / Department: Management
Campus: Melbourne City Campus
Contact me about: Research supervision


Dr Fiona Macdonald is a Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow in the School of Management. Fiona’s research focuses on three interconnected themes: the changing nature of work and employment relationships; regulating for decent work and gender equality; and the political economy of work. The empirical focus of Fiona’s current research on the social care workforce also brings in her long-standing interest in social policy and welfare systems.

In 2016 Fiona was awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award to examine the workforce challenges of Australia’s new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Her research has strong policy relevance and she works closely with industry as well as with national and international networks of employment and care scholars. In 2017 she received the RMIT Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Research impact – Early Career Researcher. Fiona is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the recently established International Journal of Care and Caring.

Research interests

  • Gender equality and employment
  • Australian and comparative regulation for decent work
  • Informality in employment and the labour market
  • Regulating employment on the margins of labour law
View a full list of Dr Macdonald’s publications
  • PhD (Political Science), University of Queensland
  • Master of Social Science (Social Policy), RMIT University
  • Graduate Diploma in Counselling Psychology, RMIT University
  • Bachelor of Behavioural Science, La Trobe University

Professional Experience

Research Fellow, Centre for Sustainable Organisations and Work / School of Management, RMIT University (Oct 2014 – present).

Research Fellow, Decent work and Gender Equality, Centre for Work + Life, University of South Australia (Sept 2012-Sept 2014).

Panel Member, Victorian State Services Authority Panel of Grievance Review & Workplace Investigations Officers and Independent Chair, Tripartite Work Review Panels (consultancy) (2007-2012).

Research consultant & research associate, (p/t project appointments), School of Political Science and International Studies, University of Queensland: Centre for Applied Social Research, RMIT University; and Centre for Citizenship and Human Rights, Deakin University (2006-2007).

Organisational Consultant and Senior Researcher URCOT (Union Research Centre on Organisations and Technology) (2005-2006).

Executive Director, Equity Research Centre, Victorian industry advisory body on equity and diversity in employment, education and training (2001-2004).

Research & Policy Manager (Research Officer until 1997), Brotherhood of St Laurence (1994-2004).

Various appointments: Vocational Counsellor, Sessional Lecturer (psychology and sociology), Student Employment Officer, RMIT University (1987-1994).

Honorary appointments and professional and community service

Member, Board of Directors, Brotherhood of St Laurence (2013 present).
Member, Board of Directors & Chair, Client Services & Social Policy Committee, Wesley Mission Victoria (2006-2011).
Member, Board of Directors, AFL SportsReady Group Training Company (2002-2005).
Member, Community Advisory Panel on Equity and Diversity to the Department of Education and Training, Victoria (2002-2004).
Member, Board of Directors, Victorian Welfare Rights Unit (1998-2004).
Member, Advisory Panel, Victorian Government Social Indicators Project (1999-2001).

Professional membership

Member: Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand

View more outputs from this academic in the RMIT Research Repository

  • The Disability Skills Portfolio Scoping Project. Funded by: National Disability Services – Innovative Workforce Fund 2017 from (2018 to 2018)
  • Changing the gender mix of financial planners: what are the drivers and barriers for women entering and succeeding in financial planning?. Funded by: Financial Planning Association Australia – research grant 2017 from (2018 to 2018)
  • NDIS Workforce Research. Funded by: Health Services Union of Australia Grant 2017 from (2017 to 2017)
  • Paid work in cash-for-care: Australia in comparative perspective. Funded by: ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) 2016 from (2016 to 2019)
Note: Supervision projects since 2004

2 PhD Current Supervisions

Gender and work, Employment regulation, Industrial relations, The changing organisation of work, Forms of employment, Work and welfare, Precarious employment.