How much do you know about the CIPD Profession Map?

By Emma Clayton
29 November 2021

What is the CIPD Profession Map?

The CIPD Profession Map is an online interactive tool to help you practice great Human Resources. Built on research and input from people professionals, it sets out the knowledge, behaviours and skills we all need to make a positive impact during our careers.

The middle of the Profession Map may be a circle, but it is the heart of the Map, and everything flows from this point. It states our purpose as people professionals: to champion better work and working lives.

CIPD Profession Map At its heart is PURPOSE
The heart of the CIPD Profession Map

Around the purpose are our three values:

  • To be principles-led
  • To be evidence-based
  • To be outcomes driven

The top parts of the map which arc over the purpose and values are core knowledge, core behaviour and specialist knowledge.

CIPD Profession Map Specialist knowledge and core knowledge and behaviours

The core sections apply to all people professionals whether your main focus is HR, L&D or OD, and regardless of your level of experience as it covers those starting out to more seasoned professionals. Even the specialist knowledge section applies to us all at some point as we work on projects or have responsibilities for areas included in this part of the Map.

Core knowledge, core behaviours and specialist knowledge are broken down further into smaller sections covering what is expected of us depending on the level we’re operating at:

  • Foundation
  • Associate
  • Chartered Member
  • Chartered Fellow

In addition to the map itself, the CIPD website includes support on finding your level as well as mini-courses for CIPD Members to explore each of the core behaviours further.

How people use the Profession Map

In early November, I ran a poll on LinkedIn asking how people professionals use the CIPD Profession Map and I was quite surprised by the results. I repeated the poll at the beginning of our session on the Profession Map with very similar results.

Poll results from the start of the session showing how participants currently used the Profession Map
Poll results from the start of the session showing how participants currently used the Profession Map

Not surprisingly, in both polls, career development was a popular option but I’ll admit I was taken aback that both times hardly anyone used the map for workplace activities and a high number of people never used it at all.

Although the Profession Map is introduced in CIPD qualifications, not a lot of time is usually spent on it and it’s often a case of students being left to explore it on their own. But the map covers a lot of content so this can be a daunting task – and possibly explains why many professionals aren’t using this valuable tool.

“The map isn’t just about career development”

During the session we discussed how the map can be used for:

  • Career development
  • Role / Function design
  • Recruitment & selection
  • Workforce / Succession planning

Many participants hadn’t considered the Map’s uses beyond career development and how useful it could be for the purposes outlined above. In fact, a key takeaway from the session for many participants was that “the map isn’t just about career development”.

Word cloud created when brainstorming ways the Profession Map can be used
Word cloud created when brainstorming ways the Profession Map can be used

And remember, within each of those areas listed above, the Map can be used in many different ways. For example, for career development it could be used for assessing skills gaps and planning CPD activities, assessing readiness for upgrading and preparing for it, charting a career path plus preparing for interviews.

It could be equally effective for starting conversations with the staff you manage to find out about their career aspirations or used as part of the appraisal and goal setting process as well as for coaching sessions. The CIPD website includes step-by-step guides for using the Map in these different ways.

After this discussion, here’s what some participants had to say:

‘Really insightful how I can use the map differently’

‘Using the map for recruitment and interview questions is a brilliant idea

‘Really useful – I’ll be using it to identify gaps in my team

And while career development still tops the list for likely uses, participants left considering these other options too:

Poll results at the end of the session on how participants plan to use the Profession Map going forward
Poll results at the end of the session on how participants plan to use the Profession Map going forward

Watch the session playback

Some people stayed for a networking session at the end where we discussed the topic further with some participants sharing really interesting and creative ways they’ve used the Map to support their workplace activities.

If you’d like to learn more about the Profession Map, you can watch the recording of the session.

Support with Upgrading:

Several participants expressed interest in upgrading and if this is something you’re considering, please join us on 23 February when we’ll be looking at the process in more detail. We’ll also be running an upgrading workshop in May.


About the author

Emma Clayton Membership Engagement Lead at CIPD Manchester Branch
Emma Clayton
Membership Engagement Lead

Emma Clayton

I work as an HR Administrator for Mobica, a global software services company, supporting the HR team and our employees based in the UK, the US and Germany. Since becoming Membership Engagement Lead earlier this year, I’ve been enjoying running events and working behind the scenes to further our offering for members and the local HR community, including launching the HR Book Club.

Location Manchester, England E-mail manchester@cipdbranch.co.uk Hours Our hours vary according to our programme.
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