What is the CIPD?

Mon 12 Aug 2013

As a HR or L&D professional you may have heard about the CIPD, but do you know about its history and everything it stands for?  

Research shows, between July 2017 and July 2022 over 20,000 senior ‘human resource’ job postings asked for general CIPD membership.  

This article will discuss the importance of the CIPD, its contribution to work and working lives, and how the training courses they provide benefit HR professionals. 

What is the aim of the CIPD? 

The CIPD has various aims relating to the professional development of HR practitioners and organisations.  

As a professional body for HR, the CIPD aims to uphold high professional standards for the HR industry, ensuring that HR practitioners have the necessary skills, knowledge, and ethical values to perform effectively in their roles. 

Historically, the CIPD has aimed to influence policy and practice by advocating for the prioritisation of people in decision-making processes related to work. The organisation believes that when you prioritise people at work, everyone stands to gain. 

Furthermore, the CIPD has been successful in establishing themselves as an internationally recognised gold standard for HR and people development.  

When was the CIPD formed? 

The CIPD has a long history that dates back to 1913 when it was originally formed as the Welfare Workers' Association (WWA) in the UK. A group of individuals were concerned about workers' rights and so they looked to improve the welfare of workers and implement better workplace practices by establishing the organisation. 

It was renamed as the Institute of Industrial Welfare Workers (IIWW) in 1917 and moved towards promoting the professional development of welfare workers. 

The IIWW was renamed once again in 1971, this time as the Institute of Personnel Management (IPM) to reflect the increasing importance of personnel management in organisations. 

The IPM was renamed as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in the year 2000, to reflect the institute's focus on the development and promotion of the HR profession. 

Today, the CIPD is a leading professional body for HR practitioners with over 150,000 members across the globe. 

How has the CIPD influenced the HR industry?  

The CIPD has been an advocate for upholding high standards of professionalism and ethical behaviour in the industry. 

By putting the emphasis on the value of HR as a strategic business function that is critical to the success of organisations, the CIPD has promoted HR’s importance. 

The CIPD has given HR experts insights and tools through research and leadership, therefore empowering them to navigate the rapidly changing HR landscape. 

The organisation has been instrumental in developing several training courses, aimed at supporting the development of HR professionals. 

Moreover, the CIPD has worked closely with governments to emphasise the significance of investing in people and creating healthy, ethical workplaces. 

What are the benefits of being a CIPD member? 

Here are some of the many benefits of being a CIPD member: 

Resources and information on HR-related topics 

Members gain access to an abundance of high quality resources and information on HR-related topics. This information can help HR professionals stay up-to-date on the latest trends and industry best practices, thus supporting the continuous professional development of its members. 


Members can take advantage of the networking opportunities provided by the organisation, connecting with other professionals in the industry to share ideas and knowledge. 

Professional development 

Members can take part in training courses that enhance their skills and knowledge. These achievements serve as a testament to the high standard of education and training provided by the organisation. 

Advocacy for the HR profession 

At its core, the CIPD advocates for the HR profession and promotes the importance of good people management practices in organisations. The organisation works closely with governments across the world and other stakeholders to promote investments in people and create healthy, ethical workplaces. 

Is there a difference between having a CIPD qualification & being a CIPD member? 

Yes, there is a difference between the two. By completing a CIPD qualification, learners are sure to gain the skills and knowledge they need to be effective in the role in HR, in line with industry best practices and CIPD research.   

Learners gain knowledge and skills through evidence based practice, on core units and topics such as: 

  • Resourcing and talent management  
  • Personal effectiveness ethics and business acumen 
  • Strategic reward management 
  • HR management and development strategies 
  • Strategic people management development 

Many who complete a qualification go on to become members of the CIPD. The membership is a display of an individual's commitment to the profession of HR. As a member, you are showcasing your commitment to high standards of HR.  

How does a CIPD qualification differ from a university-accredited degree? 

The CIPD offer courses in a range of education levels

CIPD Level 3:  This is the equivalent to an A-Level. 

CIPD Level 5 Diploma: This is the equivalent to a foundation degree: 

CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma: This is the equivalent to a master's degree. 

The CIPD is a globally recognised, prestigious professional body and a CIPD qualification can open a world of opportunities. If you're torn between opting for a CIPD qualification or a HR degree, check out or blog that compares the two.  

Find out more about our different CIPD courses that can kickstart your career. 

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