The CIPD started in 1913 and is a registered charity with a current membership of over 140,000 worldwide. Its vision is to set the benchmark for excellence in human resources and the management and development of organisations worldwide, by encouraging investment in HR, ensuring that HR professionals are supported, and that the CIPD can continue to do this.
For many HR and L&D professionals, building a successful career does not rely on a CIPD qualification and businesses will continue to make hires based on experience and personality alone. In my experience of placing HR professionals, the necessity of a CIPD qualification tends be answered by two questions – “Is the candidate personally compelled to get CIPD qualified?” and “Does the potential employer need the candidate to be CIPD qualified?”  It’s the rationale behind the answers that helps us to understand its value and importance.
For the individual, the CIPD claims that a qualification and membership will increase career prospects and earning potential, as well as provide support during the career of an HR professional through access to materials and a knowledge base that will keep them ahead of the game. If a client asks for candidates with a CIPD qualification for a role, unqualified candidates are rarely part of my initial shortlist and are potentially missing out on an excellent opportunity. Over the previous 15 months, the last 10 unqualified HR generalists I have placed have commanded £45,100pa* on average, whereas the last 10 placed MCIPD-qualified HR generalists commanded £50,800pa*, supporting the earning potential claim. For potential employers, a CIPD qualification demonstrates a level of professional ability, willingness to develop and underpins experience with theory, all of which go a long way to instilling confidence that a candidate is right for a job and that they should be paid at the higher end of the salary scale.
On the other hand, practical experience is an absolute must for clients and is often more important than a qualification. Having grown with a business and knowing it inside out is more likely to help you to meet its needs than having a qualification and little understanding of a company and its people. When asked, the majority of my clients said that they would rather hire a candidate with experience and no CIPD qualification than a qualified, but lesser experienced individual, saying they could make a ‘business case’ to caveat the lack of a CIPD qualification. 
Another important factor is the cost of undertaking a CIPD qualification, with new professional members paying in the region of £2000 for assessment fees on top of the cost of a course, and approximately £180 for annual fees. Finding time to attend courses, complete assignments and take examinations can be a struggle and off-putting for many. However, many employers are willing to help with these financial burdens and the CIPD now offers CIPD Flexible Learning+ spacing modules to allow you time to achieve your desired qualification around work and life.


Having a CIPD qualification will help to open doors, complement practical experience and give a monetary return on investment in the long-term. The necessity of a qualification is down to you and your situation, but there is evidence to show that it sets a positive benchmark for the human resources industry, helping you to become successful in your career as a human resources professional. For HR professionals aiming to deliver the best results they can perhaps the question should be, “Why wouldn’t you want a CIPD qualification?”
If you would like to discuss the benefits of a CIPD qualification in more detail, please contact James Pagliaro.
T: +44 172 773 0122

*in the Northern Home Counties, across a range of sectors, men and women