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Is a CIPD Qualification Essential to Getting Ahead in the HR Profession?

Is a CIPD Qualification Essential to Getting Ahead in the HR Profession?

Submitted by global_admin on Mon, 05/16/2016 - 09:06
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Studying towards a CIPD qualification allows both aspiring and experienced HR professionals to enhance their knowledge on the latest HR theory and HR best practice.

“CIPD is an awarding body for HR qualifications.  Over 13,000 students join [the] programmes each year to enhance their knowledge on the latest theory, case studies and insights into best practice HR” (CIPD). Ultimately, a CIPD qualification aides HR professionals in knowing how they can add the greatest sustained value to any organisation.  

To be eligible for Associate membership, individuals must study towards: Foundation (Level 3 qualification), Intermediate (Level 5 qualification) or Advanced (Level 7 qualification).  If you have an Undergraduate degree, you can bypass the Foundation (Level 3) qualification.  While it is not a prerequisite for HR professionals, due to the strategic and commercial development of HR, employers are frequently requesting CIPD qualified candidates (HRZone).

Individuals choose to study towards a CIPD qualification for a multitude of reasons.  For example, alongside employer demand for the qualification, studying towards a CIPD qualification allows aspiring HR professionals to gain strong foundational knowledge of HR best practice, and for all HR professionals, it can better theoretical understanding of Generalist HR issues.  Additionally, having the qualification can boost your earning potential.  It also shows commitment to your career, which in turn can instil confidence in employers.   

Despite the evident value of studying towards a CIPD qualification, whether or not employers should view it as a prerequisite for potential HR employees has been widely debated in the HR community.  This is because while the qualification gives individuals credibility and knowledge, it does not determine an individual’s value in the market place.  Factors such as relevant experience and industry knowledge outweigh the importance of the qualification. Additionally, HR practice and employment law are not stagnant,  and the HR function and theories behind it need to be continuously reviewed and reworked, meaning qualifications will eventually become outdated.  Upon review, it is clear the perceived value of a CIPD qualification is largely subjective, and that discussion around its merits largely divides individuals into opposing camps of opinion.  In summary, while a CIPD qualification can give you credibility, it needs to be gained alongside other relevant experience.  Like any professional certification, it will enhance one's knowledge, but arguably what's most important is how that knowledge is applied (Expert HR).

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