Our new Profession Map

Today we will be sharing our new Profession Map for the first time with thousands of people professionals at our Annual Conference and Exhibition. The Map sets out the international standard for practitioners to make their greatest impact and thrive in a changing world of work.

This is an exciting moment – and the culmination of a huge amount of collaboration, thinking and hard work. The new Profession Map is the product of wide consultation with CIPD members, business leaders, industry experts and partner organisations across the globe. Thousands of people have contributed and the Map is all the stronger for it.

Why did we set out on this journey? As we know, the world of work is shifting fast, creating new opportunities as well as challenges for our profession. We need to adapt and innovate, and shape our approaches and solutions to the context we are in, and the outcomes that add most value. New specialisms and areas of capability are emerging. We needed to update our existing 2013 Profession Map to reflect these shifts but also to be adaptive to the future.

We started thinking about this in 2015 when we conducted a significant piece of research about the real experiences of practitioners. This was the foundation for our ‘Profession for the Future’ thinking and became the start of a conversation with experts in people practice everywhere as we defined the purpose and professional values at the heart of the Map and then the standards themselves. Every step of the way, we have tested the thinking with our communities – and every step of the way those communities have helped us to focus and strengthen the Map.

So what does it look like?

  • It's built around the overarching purpose of the people profession: to champion better work and working lives.
  • It's been developed to reflect our international presence and context.
  • It shifts the focus from generic best practice and processes to values-based decision-making. It won’t tell practitioners what to do, but it will show how having the right core capabilities and living our professional values (being principles-led, evidence-based and outcomes-driven) leads to better decisions and impact in any situation.
  • The standards themselves are divided into three categories: core knowledge (what you have to know to consider yourself an expert in people, work and change – regardless of your role, sector or specialism); core behaviours (ways of thinking and acting that should be universal and consistent across the people profession, even in new and challenging situations); and specialist knowledge (from L&D to OD&D to Employee Experience and beyond, the knowledge needed to operate in a broad spectrum of specialisms).
  • We have clearly aligned the levels in the new Profession Map with our membership levels – so the standards directly equate to Associate, Chartered and Fellow. We have also added a new ‘Fundamental’ level to the Map, which although not a formal membership level allows better support to practitioners at earlier stages in their development and careers.


In the short-term, our 2013 Profession Map will stay the basis for our qualifications and membership standards. It will remain a robust, relevant and useful point of reference as we transition to the new Map. So if you’re a CIPD member your membership level is unaffected. And if you’re considering studying with us there’s no reason to delay. But if you want to start thinking about your CPD, then you can use the new Map as the basis for this. We have already been developing more content and learning in the newer areas of capability and knowledge called out in the new Map.

The new Profession Map is about tomorrow as much as today. One of its most important features is that it has been designed to evolve. As the knowledge needed to be an outstanding people professional progresses and changes, so will the Map. As new specialisms emerge, we will find a place for them. It is designed for a dynamic, shifting world and helping everyone to continue to build their careers and knowledge in the future.

You can take a look at the Map already here. We will also be writing to all CIPD members introducing it next week.

I have said many times before that there has never been a more exciting time for the people profession. I truly believe that. And I am proud of the new Profession Map and the role it will play in supporting and guiding professionals as we work together to champion better work and working lives.

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