Mrs Gemma L Piercy

Senior Tutor

Qualifications: BSocSc(Hons) MSocSc PGCertTT Waikato

School of Social Sciences



Adult Education; Globalisation; Indigenous Education; Lifelong Learning; Organisational Learning; Pedagogy; Social Movements; Social Policy; Social Sciences and Education; Teaching and Learning; Tertiary Education; Work Experience-Based Learning; Youth

Employment relations
Industry Training

Research Interests

I am a qualitative researcher primarily interested in policy analysis, the use of interviews in gathering empirical information and auto-ethnography.  My research interests include: social policy - particularly employment relations and tertiary/adult education and training.  I have specifically investigated the nature of apprenticeship training and I am currently working on a broader research focus which includes at a macro context skill formation and at a micro workplace learning. As a labour studies and adult education trained academic I am also interested in social movements, particularly the labour and union movements and the role they play in society today.  I am also interested in the changing nature of work and I am conducting research on interactive service sector work.

Recent Publications

  • Piercy, G., Mackness, K., Rarere, M., & Madley, B. (2017). Investigating commentary on the fifth labour-led government’s third way approach. New Zealand Sociology, 32(1), 49-72. Open Access version:

  • Piercy, G. (2016). Research as resonance: Weaving knowledge(s) to construct mystory. In Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines (CEAD) 2016: Ethnographic Imaginings: Place, Space and Time. Conference held at Cape Town, South Africa.

  • Piercy, G., & Steele, Z. (2016). The importance of social skills for the future of work. New Zealand Journal of Human Resources Management: Special Issue: 'The Future of Work', 16(1), 32-42.

  • Piercy, G., & Steele, Z. (2016). Growing vs. getting the 'right' people for the job. In 2016 Conference on Labour, Employment and Work (LEW2016): 'The Changing Nature of Work and Employment'. Conference held at Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.

View all research publications by Gemma Piercy

Papers Taught


I am currently supervising: a 90pt Masters in psychology focussed on recent graduate perceptions of the concept of employability (second supervisor) and a 30pt honours project focussed on presentational labour in the work context of baristas.

I have supervised the following projects:

Waller, Arianna Leigh “Mana Ora Kainga Rua: Experiences of Kura Kaupapa Māori Graduates” Masters Thesis 120pts (University of Waikato, 2016)

Korach, Haydn Clyde “Strengths and limitations of early career mentoring schemes: Case Study, the New Zealand Police Field Training Officer programme” Masters Thesis 120pts (University of Waikato, 2015)

Burton, Hannah “Hospo’ Waitressing: More than just carrying plates” Honours Dissertation 30 pts (University of Waikato, 2012)

Ranchodbhai, Tejal “What are the gender issues women face in relation to work and what are some possible solutions towards creating gender equality?” Honours Dissertation 30 pts (University of Waikato, 2012)

Whitham, Michael Philip “"It's about community" - Finding Local Solutions to Local Problems: Exploring Responses to the Social Problem of Youth Unemployment” Masters Thesis 120pts (University of Waikato, 2012)

Whitham, Michael Philip “CUP-PLE of reasons for University: Motivations for high school students entering University without UE” Honours Dissertation 30 pts (University of Waikato, 2011)

Wu, Yuanyuan “Women's experiences of higher education in New Zealand: Comparing the perspectives of New Zealand and Chinese women” Masters Thesis 120pts (University of Waikato, 2012)

I have also supervised undergraduate projects on skill formation in the context of tikanga; reforms to the Employment Relations Act; with Dr David Neilson a project examining habitus, individualism in response to neo-liberalism and the risk society.

I have also supervised a number of work placements.

Kennedy, Emma Waikato DHB HR Placement FASS296 (University of Waikato, 2017)

McDonald, Ella Tompkins Wake HR Placement FASS396 (University of Waikato, 2017)

Samuels, Zenia Accor Group Hotel HR Placement FASS296 (University of Waikato, 2016)

Garratt, Hannah Name withheld HR Placement FASS396 (University of Waikato, 2016)

McNicol, Caroline New Zealand Nurses Union Placement FASS396 (University of Waikato, 2016)

Gardiner, Emma LIC HR Work Placement FASS396 (University of Waikato, 2012)

Bartlett, Christine NZITO HR Work Placement FASS396 (University of Waikato, 2012)

Fitzell, Rose Anglican Action Work Placement SOCP389 (University of Waikato, 2009)

Fisher, Kylie Methodist City Action Work Placement SOCP389 (University of Waikato, 2009)

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Piercy, Ms Gemma 9360 gemma K.2.03A Sociology Programme
Piercy, Ms Gemma 9360 gemma K.2.03A Labour Studies