The Profession Map represents our whole profession. It’s a practical set of knowledge and behaviours that people professionals use in their day-to-day work, and to progress their careers and learning. And it’s used by organisations to define what ‘good’ HR, L&D and OD looks like, to shape job roles, and to embed effective knowledge and behaviours. Here’s how to get the most from the Profession Map. 

Why use the Profession Map?

The Profession Map helps you make better decisions, act with confidence, drive change in your organisation and progress in your career. It sets the international standard for our profession. And its standards are embedded in our learning pathways, our qualifications and our membership grades.

How does it work?

It describes the values, core knowledge, behaviours and specialist knowledge that help us make a positive impact, whatever our level or specialism. At its heart is our purpose – to champion better work and working lives. The core knowledge standards that flow from this purpose equip us as experts in people, work and change. The core behaviours enable us to live our professional values.

diagram of the Profession Map

Who is it for?

The Profession Map is relevant to people professionals around the world. The specialist knowledge standards ensure it works for all people specialisms, at all levels of experience and career stages. It is designed to evolve as new roles, specialisms, priorities and opportunities emerge.

How do we keep it relevant?

We review it twice a year, drawing on the latest research, the changing landscape and feedback from the profession. And, as required, we adapt the knowledge and behaviour standards while keeping its values and purpose constant.

How does it support your career?

Whether you’re employed, self-employed or a consultant – and a member of the CIPD or not – you can use the Profession Map to learn, improve and innovate. You can use it to understand your strengths and build on them, to identify any gaps in your knowledge or experience, and to prioritise your development.

Its four levels of impact are equivalent to our membership grades, so you can use the Profession Map to learn and progress in your career journey.

The Profession Map in five easy steps

1. Find your level

Look at the Profession Map levels and decide which one most closely describes the type of work you do. You might feel that your role covers aspects of two different levels, or that right now you’re having to work at a different level. That’s not a problem – take a pragmatic approach and pick the level that you think best reflects your work at the moment.

2. Explore the core standards

Explore the Profession Map standards at the level which best describes the type of work you do. Remember, all the core knowledge and core behaviour standards are relevant to your role. You’ll probably find you know some knowledge areas better than others, and use some of the behaviours more than others. To be a great people professional, you should work towards developing yourself in all of these core areas. 

3. Explore the specialist knowledge standards

Identify which areas of specialist knowledge, if any, apply to you based on your role. If you’re an L&D specialist, you might want to explore the L&D standards. But you may also want to look at some of the talent management or OD standards – it’s really up to you. If you’re a generalist or HR business partner, you may not need to use any of the specialisms. If you cover a wide range of HR work – such as employee relations, resourcing, learning and reward – you may want to touch on all of these areas a little bit and select the standards which are relevant for your role.

4. Assess yourself against the standards 

Use our self-assessment tool to assess yourself against the core areas and any specialisms relevant to you. You don’t have to consider all the areas at once – pick the core knowledge, behaviours and specialist knowledge areas that you think you most need to develop right now. And don’t forget to use the level you’re currently working at. You’ll find a wide range of learning recommendations to choose from, so you can continue your professional development journey.

5. Use the Profession Map in your role

You can use the Profession Map to broaden, deepen and apply your expertise and increase your impact:

  • Identify your strengths and development areas in other specialisms.
  • Develop yourself against the next level up for you.
  • Use the self-assessment recommendations to create your own learning plan.
  • Embed your learning with the CPD Reflections tool, open to members and Learning Hub subscribers.
  • Use it in your development conversations with your manager.
  • Create checklists and approaches to work using the standards.
  • Review which CIPD membership grade is right for you.

Profession Map learning

Develop yourself against the
Profession Map

Discover the learning and support that helps you embed the Profession Map into your day-to-day practice.

Callout Image
The Profession Map

Make the most of the Profession Map

The Profession Map is for everyone in our profession – individuals and teams, members and non-members. Learn more about the Profession Map and how you can use it. 

Profession Map
Explore the Profession Map

Explore the purpose, values, knowledge and behaviours at the heart of our profession

Profession Map
Find your level with the Profession Map

Find your current level of knowledge and experience and the next step in your career

Profession Map
The Profession Map

Discover what great looks like for your people team

Profession Map
The Profession Map FAQs

Check out our FAQs on the Profession Map, membership, and qualifications

The Profession Map overview