I have spent my life studying work and how it shapes inequality - especially for women and the low paid - and advocating for change. I am an economist with a particular interest in the labour market and employment. I am currently Emeritus Professor in the Business School at the University of South Australia. 

I was raised on a mallee farm near Lameroo in South Australia, and I am strongly attached to the land. I have worked in many jobs - in the Reserve Bank of Australia, in shearing sheds, advising politicians, for governments, on farms, in unions, in universities, and as a mother and carer of aged parents. I have worked on employment creation programs, and on women’s employment initiatives, along with ways to improve our workplace relations, early childhood education and care, vocational training and work-family systems.

I worked in universities for more than 30 years, including the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia. I founded the Centre for Work + Life at the University of South Australia between 2006 and 2014, leading a team of researchers studying how work affects Australian men, women and children and the households and communities in which we live.   

I have actively campaigned against the import and ‘disposal’ of nuclear waste in South Australia, for workers’ rights, and for faster action on climate change.

I have been a member of South Australia's Economic Development Board (2014-18), the Board of The Australia Institute (since 2004, currently Deputy Chair), and a founding member of Mothers for a Sustainable South Australia (MOSSA) which researched and opposed a high-level nuclear waste dump for SA. 

In 2010 I was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to industrial relations research and for advocacy of social justice.  I was made a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2008. 

I've presented my research in many countries and written many articles and books including The Work/Life Collision, and The Labour Market Ate My Babies.  My research investigating work, employment relations, gender, trade unionism, pay and pay equity, vocational education and inequality in the labour market has received many research grants (thank you tax payers of Australia) and I was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship to study the intersections between work, family and community for 5 years, 2003-2007.


For Barbara Pocock's Current Full Curriculm Vitae
Image and short 
Biography for introductions


Living Low Paid

2012 book - Time Bomb: Work Rest and Play in Australia Today. 

Co-authored with Natalie Skinner and Philippa Williams, New South Books, AU$34.95. Order at:  



2008 book - Living Low Paid: The Dark Side of Prosperous Australia

Allen & Unwin, Sydney. Written by Helen Masterman-Smith and Barbara Pocock. For details visit: http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781741753967

Kids Count

2007 book - Kids count: better early childhood education and care in Australia

Edited by Elizabeth Hill, Barbara Pocock and Alison Elliott Sydney University Press, Sydney, 2007.  Click here to order: http://purl.library.usyd.edu.au/sup/9781920898700

The Labour Market Ate My Babies

2006 book - The Labour Market Ate My Babies: Work, Children and a Sustainable Future


The Work Life Collision

2003 book - The Work/Life Collision. What Work is Doing to Australians and What to
Do About It



1997 book - Strife: Sex and Politics in Labour Unions Allen & Unwin, Sydney