What’s the value of a CIPS qualification?

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) is an international organisation serving the procurement and supply chain profession and it exists to help promote good practice in the industry. To help uphold good standards, the institute offers practical training courses, workshops and qualifications to individuals working or looking to work in this field. When searching for a new procurement or supply chain job, we investigate how important such qualifications are to success.

The right education

Some related degrees are accredited by CIPS and as such, you’ll receive membership upon successful completion of the relevant criteria. Typically, you’ll need to have completed three years’ experience post qualification to gain full membership and be officially able to use the MCIPS letters on your CV.
Although you can enter the profession at any level and from other disciplines, most employers will expect to see some relevant training on your CV – this could be a general business degree or a more specialist purchasing and supply qualification. A CIPS graduate diploma is a graduate level qualification which can be undertaken in a variety of flexible study options. This diploma could be considered a benchmark education programme for the purchasing and supply profession throughout the world.
Particularly if you’re new to the profession, a relevant CIPS qualification can certainly help to focus your knowledge and help make your CV appeal to employers in this industry. If you already have an accredited degree and relevant experience, an additional CIPS qualification/training may be deemed unnecessary. However, if you feel you have gaps in your knowledge or want to hone your skills in a niche area - you may want to consider a specific practical training course to expand your skill set.

The appeal of experience

Quite often, employers will make specific reference to CIPS membership in their job adverts, whereas others may focus more heavily on your experience in previous roles.
Whatever the job, it’s important that the right education and training is always be backed up by practical, hands-on experience. An employer will always be looking for a good mix of the two and proof that you can put your learning into practice. A CIPS qualification can help you gain an advanced understanding of purchasing and supply management as well as other essential issues which affect business – but you’ll need to show proven aptitude for making the theory work in real business environments.
Don’t simply rely on a relevant qualification to secure you a new job, always market yourself fully by providing robust examples of where your knowledge and skills made real impact to business. As Michael Skowronski, managing consultant with Michael Page Procurement & Supply Chain confirms:
“Employers in the purchasing and supply chain industry will always look for a good foundation in accredited leaning that’s backed by demonstrable experience in a past role.
Membership to CIPS is often stated in job adverts and should always be clearly displayed on CVs where applicable. However, a relevant qualification will never replace a proven track record and candidates should always market both these attributes to prospective employers.”
For more information on chartered qualifications, visit the CIPS site.