The Profession Map sets the international standard for our profession, developed in consultation with 20,000 people professionals, CIPD members, employers and academics. Starting with our purpose and values, the Profession Map captures the knowledge and behaviours you need to learn, progress and make an impact at work. It works as a whole – none of its elements can be taken in isolation. 

The Profession Map works for all people professionals, whatever your role, level, specialism or industry.

Purpose and values

Everything in the Profession Map is designed to contribute to the purpose of our profession – to champion better work and working lives. That’s why the purpose sits in the centre.

Around it you’ll find our three values:

  • principles-led – going beyond policy and process to do what’s right
  • evidence-based – using a range of evidence and expertise to make decisions
  • outcomes-driven – focusing on work which creates value for people and organisations.

Core knowledge

The core knowledge standards describe the knowledge you need to be an expert in people, an expert in work, and an expert in change. They are ‘core’ because they apply to all people professionals, regardless of your role, your specialism, your sector, or where you are in your career.

Core behaviours

The core behaviour standards describe consistent ways of working to best live the values of being principles-led, evidence-based and outcomes-driven. Like the core knowledge standards, they are also ‘core’ because they apply to all people professionals.

Specialist knowledge

The specialist knowledge standards describe the knowledge you need to be an expert in a particular specialism. Depending on your role, you may want to use one or two of these specialisms. If you are a generalist or HR business partner, you may not need to use any of them at all. The choice is up to you.

Find your level

All these standards are written at four different impact levels. These levels describe types of work and the impact that work has. At Foundation level, for example, work tends to be tactical and impacts your immediate team and customers.  At Chartered Member level you’ll be thinking strategically and influencing a range of people across an organisation. This means you can see exactly what it takes to make a positive contribution, whether you’re a senior leader or just starting out in your field.


To keep our profession future-fit, we review the Profession Map twice a year

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