Making the case for better work – and raising the profile of the people profession as its champions – is central to our purpose. To maximise our impact, we focus on influencing change in the most pivotal aspects of today's labour market.

Key highlights

  • Our knowledge hub generated 500,000 downloads this year
  • Our work was highlighted in the media almost 3,000 times.
  • We're creating Good Work Standards across the UK
  • More than 3,000 volunteers supported our social impact and innovation initiatives
  • Our People Skills Hub for SMEs and line managers helped 22,500 people.

Focusing on key agents of change

This year we dedicated time to reflect on our voice, aiming to make it stronger and clearer than ever before. Within a broad and evolving world of work, we need to ensure our voice reaches those in positions most suited to influencing and implementing the change we want to see.

The people profession lies at the heart of championing better work and working lives, and as their professional body we provide them with the information and tools they need to drive positive change in their organisations and local communities. We carry out the research, propose the required policy changes, and provide the practical guidance needed to make good work a reality for all.

Historically, we've focused predominantly on reaching our profession, as well as policy-makers and senior decision-makers who can help us engineer change on a more macro level. This year, we put a greater emphasis than ever before on a third key audience – line managers. Their unique insight and personal connection with individual members of the workforce give them the ability to enact practical change at a grassroots level and have a direct impact on aspects of working lives, such as health and well-being or learning and development.

Mark Lomas

"The CIPD plays a key role in spreading good practice, challenging current approaches to people management and encouraging members to be proactive about career development."

Mark Lomas, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, HS2 Ltd

Shaping international standards

We also have a voice in the world of International Standards and are proactively engaged in the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) Technical Committee 260: Human Resource Management. Our staff are expert members of the committee’s working groups and ensure that the CIPD’s evidenced-based point of view guides the content of standards as they develop. We were active in two key standards published in 2018: ISO 30414 HRM (Guidelines on Human Capital Reporting) and ISO 30410 HRM (Impact of Hire). We also contributed to two further standards that are close to publication at the time of writing: ISO 30415 HRM (Guidelines on Diversity and Inclusion) and ISO 30421 HRM (Guidelines on Turnover and Retention).

We have presented our work on these standards at conferences and branch events in the UK and in Dubai and provided information for our members on these standards through our updated factsheet: HR and Standards.

Creating effective content

By tailoring more of our content to the different needs and interests of these three groups, we'll ensure our research, policy and content outputs have a greater impact.

We've started by upskilling the teams behind our content in the art of putting themselves in our users' shoes and creating user experiences that really meet their wants and needs. We’ve also started making our work more accessible and engaging by breaking it down into more digestible pieces for each audience. One example is the content we produced for our Menopause at Work campaign, where we created a short practical guide for line managers and printable leaflets and posters for people professionals to distribute within their organisations.

Moving forward, we'll continue to think innovatively about the content we produce as an organisation, and how we can make it as practical as possible. In particular, we'll continue to diversify our channels and methods of content delivery, to increase our ability to reach our chosen audiences.

Increasing our impact across the world of work

Our online reach continues to grow

By evaluating the quantity of traffic to our websites, we can gauge the level of demand for our content – a useful measure of our impact. This year our website attracted more interest than ever, with overall visitor numbers up 17%, to 3,782,994. Our factsheets continued to prove particularly popular and our knowledge hub (where all our research and associated guidance is housed) generated more than 500,000 downloads. Our international sites also drew more interest, with visits growing by 71% in Ireland, 6% in the Middle East and a massive 117% in Asia.

We saw impressive growth across our UK and international social media channels this year too – again showing that demand for our content continues to grow. Our main UK-based accounts across all major platforms continued to expand, with particularly strong growth seen on LinkedIn, where our following grew by 40% to reach more than 160,000. We also increased our reach on Twitter (up 5% to 108,500 followers), and Facebook (up 17% to 9,800 members). Highlights across our international social media channels include strong growth in LinkedIn followers in Ireland and the Middle East, as well as a significant increase in Facebook followers in Asia.

Shaping the news agenda

We continued to grow our impact via broadcast, national and business media in the UK. In total, we secured 2,960 pieces of media coverage throughout 2018–19, compared with the 3,250 received last year. While this is a decrease in the total quantity of coverage, the quality and prominence of the coverage we received grew. A particular highlight was our executive pay story, which led the Guardian front-page in August, and appeared across numerous national newspapers and broadcast media. We had an in-depth interview about the menopause at work on BBC Breakfast in March and our quarterly Labour Market Outlook report continued to generate strong interest, including notable pieces in The Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times.

"Top pay in UK up by 11% as workers' wages fail to match inflation."

Guardian, August 2018

Influencing public policy

2018–19 saw our Public Policy and Public Affairs Teams provide evidence and insight to government and policy-makers on a wide range of issues. There were 12 formal responses to government, parliamentary inquiries, regional governments and combined authorities, and the CIPD appeared before House of Commons and Lords Select Committees to discuss issues including intergenerational fairness, the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and automation in the world of work. CIPD member views played an important role in forming CIPD viewpoints, gathered through survey data, branch meetings and roundtable events up and down the country, including with the CIPD's Policy Forum, which is chaired by former MP and minister, Iain Wright.

We also continued to strengthen our relationships with Scottish government agencies on key devolved matters such as skills policy, as well as supporting the Fair Work Agenda in Scotland.

Our new Festival of Work

June 2019 saw the launch of our new flagship event: the Festival of Work. Designed for both people professionals as well as the wider business community, the Festival brought together 7,000 attendees at London Olympia to discuss the skills, technology and environment shaping the future world of work. The event combined two existing events, the Learning and Development Show and HR Software Show, as well as integrating a future of work content stream – creating the world’s largest celebration of people at work. A range of seminars, workshops and panel discussions explored the potential for collaboration between people and technology. The opening keynote speaker, Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, urged us to embrace the role of AI and new technology within our workplaces. We also ran a series of inclusion workshops. Each workshop centred on a different form of inclusion at work (menopause, race and LGBT) and allowed visitors to have open and honest conversations around how we can work towards creating truly inclusive workplaces.

The Festival's celebratory atmosphere brought with it new types of content and activities. Start-ups were able to showcase their new ideas in the Innovation Village, while visitors and exhibitors had the option to unwind between sessions with free yoga, dog therapy and more in the Well-being Village.

"Excellent event. Inspired by the future of work and the role HR will play in driving business success."

A Twitter post from an attendee of the Festival of Work (17 June 2019)

Leading the conversation on good work

To create good-quality work, we need to raise awareness of what it looks like. We want good work to be something that all workers, managers and leaders understand and promote within their organisations. This year we aligned our research, content and policy efforts under three main elements of good work: skilled work, productive work and fair work.

Ensuring our voice was prominent and aligned with these areas gave us a framework to both raise awareness of the challenges that exist, but also to provide relevant practical guidance to help our audiences start to overcome them.

"We want good work to be something that all workers, managers and leaders understand and promote within their organisations."

Ensuring effective skills development

Keeping pace with an evolving world of work requires up-to-date knowledge of changing demands for skills. Government and business need to join forces to provide employees with the skills and qualifications they need to thrive throughout their working lives.

This year the CIPD, alongside a number of partners, formed a new Essential Skills Task Force in England. The group is working to define a skills framework for the core and transferable skills that almost all jobs need. The framework will create a common vocabulary between education and employers, supporting the recruitment process through a better understanding of candidates' skills and abilities. The framework is being tested by a number of prominent employers, and we'll continue to work with government and key stakeholders to encourage its uptake. We also hope to link up with similar initiatives in Scotland and Wales.

The skills landscape

We also assessed the current skills landscape in the UK. In October 2018 our report, Over-skilled and Underused: Investigating the untapped potential of UK skills, highlighted the degree to which UK employees are in job roles they are either under- or over-skilled for. Alongside the main report, a practical guide for people professionals detailed just how organisations can counter skills mismatches.

The apprenticeship system

In March 2019, we supported a National Audit Office report which questioned the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of the UK Government’s apprenticeship programme. We added our voice to the growing number of organisations in favour of reforming the apprenticeship levy and called on the Government to take action.

In July 2019, our report, Addressing Employer Underinvestment in Training: The case for a broader training levy, will highlight the broader problems with the levy and our proposed solutions to these.

Looking ahead to T-Levels

We also published research on the new government study programme set to be introduced in 2020: T-Levels. We looked at just how ready employers are to accommodate these new vocational qualifications, and how effective they think they’ll be. Worryingly, our findings revealed 60% of employers hadn’t heard about the new qualifications, and only 26% believed that it was feasible to expect businesses to provide minimum work experience placements of 45 days.

The report secured coverage in the Financial Times, as well as other national papers.

"Employers not ready for rollout of T-Level technical school exam"

Headline in the Financial Times on our research report, Reforming technical education: Employers' views of T-Levels (22 August 2018)

Making work more productive

Since the financial crisis in 2008, productivity in the UK has flatlined. By prioritising better and more effective people management practices, we can help organisations drive productivity growth. Throughout the year, we've continued to monitor the strength of UK organisations' recruitment and pay intentions with our quarterly Labour Market Outlook, in partnership with the Adecco Group UK & Ireland. It tracked the effects of turbulent political uncertainty on employer confidence. In the spring, our report found that labour demand and pay expectations remained strong, at least in the short term.

"By prioritising better and more effective people management practices, we can help organisations drive productivity growth."

Painting a picture of what a productive workplace looks like

We investigated the role of technology on workplace productivity in our report, People and Machines: From hype to reality. Launched in April 2019 in partnership with PA Consulting, the report used surveys and organisation case studies to explore how jobs are changing as a result of new technologies, and how the people profession has a vital role to play in leading this change at a workplace level.

Healthy employees are usually happier and more productive at work. Our Health and Well-being at Work Survey in April, in partnership with Simplyhealth, shone a light on the worrying increase in stress-related absence in UK organisations. It also picked up on the role of line managers, who are increasingly seen as responsible for their team’s well-being. Alongside the main report, we produced a guide for managers on helping ensure stress does not get in the way of success. In total, the guide and accompanying resources surpassed 15,000 downloads.

We also partnered with the Royal Foundation's Heads Together campaign and the charity Mind to launch Mental Health at Work, a new online gateway to resources, training and information to help combat the issue of ill mental health at work. We continue to work with the Heads Together campaign to remove the stigma around mental health at work and promote these resources with employers.

"How many times have you gone in to work when you're really not up to it? Our latest #WellbeingAtWork survey with Simply Health found that 83% of respondents had observed #presenteeism in their organisation"

Twitter post from the CIPD on the publication of our Health and Well-being survey (15 April 2019)

Expanding our evidence base on productive work

We continue to deepen our impact by generating robust evidence that can transform real-world business practice. This year we secured funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's (BEIS) Business Basics fund for People Skills Pilots – an innovative approach to boosting the productivity of small firms. See below or page 38 of our annual report for more details.

In addition, we continue to be a valuable partner to leading academic institutions and networks. Our research team was instrumental in winning funding this year from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to develop a new evidence hub. Known as ProPEL, the new hub will allow evidence- and evaluation-sharing from a series of cutting-edge research projects that will test how certain HR practices can lead to productivity improvements within organisations. The CIPD will act as an expert adviser, content developer and network partner to the hub, leading on its engagement with policy-makers and the people profession.

"We continue to deepen our impact by generating robust evidence that can transform real-world business practice."

At the heart of good work is fair and inclusive work. Greater diversity, fairer reward packages and more transparency bring with them better working practices and more productive teams.

Menopause at work

In March we launched our landmark Menopause at Work campaign to break the stigma around menopause in the workplace. We produced guidance for both people professionals and line managers to support people going through the menopause transition at work. We also created a range of posters and leaflets with information and tips, purposely designed for organisations to easily share within their own workplaces.

The guidance and resources we produced proved hugely popular, picking up over 20,000 downloads. And our podcast on the topic has been played almost 10,000 times.

On the day of launch, our employee relations adviser appeared on the BBC Breakfast sofa to share further information and guidance. We've also received support from a number of key ministers and are preparing to further raise the issue at a public policy level this autumn.

"Employers who are serious about tapping into female talent need to get serious about the menopause. Even a few small changes can transform work for many women with menopausal symptoms’ #MenopauseAtWork"

LinkedIn post from the CIPD on the publication of our Menopause at Work campaign (26 March 2019)

Monitoring executive pay

Our annual analysis of executive pay packages in the UK's largest publicly listed companies, in partnership with the High Pay Centre, shines a light on the excessive gaps between the highest and lowest earners and the lack of transparent reporting to justify the gaps. The report proves popular with the media each year: the August 2018 report featured on the front page of both the Guardian and City AM, and our spokespeople discussed the findings on BBC News.

In January 2019 we also published research into the failings of the remuneration committees (RemCos) responsible for setting and monitoring executive pay and called for organisations to broaden the remit of their remuneration committee, making them 'people and culture committees'. These new committees would lean more on the expertise of the people profession and be responsible for ensuring that reward practices across the workforce incentivise behaviours that are in the long-term interest of employees, businesses and the societies they operate in.

"We called for organisations to broaden the remit of their remuneration committee, making them 'people and culture committees'."

Closing the pay gaps

Over the year, we've been advising the UK's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on what introducing mandatory ethnicity pay reporting would mean for employers and HR professionals. After welcoming a consultation on the topic in October 2018, in February 2019 we called on the Government to make it compulsory for organisations to publish a narrative and action plan alongside their ethnicity pay report. We're continuing to work with BEIS on the ethnicity and race at work agenda and have voluntarily disclosed our own ethnicity pay data on page 50 of our annual report.

This year also marked the second year of mandatory gender pay gap reporting in the UK. Our report, Not Just a Number, showed that while most organisations are taking the responsibility of reporting seriously, some are struggling to provide an accurate picture of their gender pay gap, and not enough provide meaningful explanations of why the gap exists. The report provided case studies on what some organisations are doing to close their gender pay gaps.

In Ireland, we responded to a government consultation to ensure gender pay gap reporting is fit for purpose. Our Irish team is also set to be part of the next round of consultation on detailed definitions and implementation methods.

Measuring good work

In June 2019, we launched our second annual report on UK job quality: UK Working Lives. Using seven key dimensions of job quality, the report assessed the degree to which UK workers experience good work and gives key insights into the changing nature of work in the UK. Findings this year identified poor work–life balance as a particular problem, with 60% of UK workers admitting they work longer hours than they'd like. Almost a quarter (24%) also noted that they find it difficult to relax in their own time due to thinking about work. UK Working Lives continues to influence national and regional policy, providing evidence to academics and policy-makers and shaping a growing debate.

Flexible working

The worrying findings from UK Working Lives highlight the importance of creating flexible working opportunities. Our chief executive, Peter Cheese, continues to co-chair the Government's Flexible Working Taskforce. The taskforce aims to boost the availability of flexible working across the UK and has actively used the results of UK Working Lives to inform its work.

In January, our Megatrends report on flexible working – one of our most popular reports of the year – outlined the current provision of flexible working arrangements for UK employees. The accompanying guidance on flexible hiring outlined how to incorporate flexibility into different job types and encouraged employers to advertise vacant roles with the strapline 'happy to talk flexible working'. And in June we published a series of employer case studies exploring the different, often creative, approaches to flexible working taken by real-life organisations across different industries and sectors.

"We published a series of employer case studies exploring the different, often creative, approaches to flexible working taken by real life organisations across different industries and sectors."

Championing 'Good Work' across the UK

Throughout the year we’ve embraced several opportunities to influence the 'Good Work' agenda across the UK – with local, regional and national policy makers showing an increasing appetite for change.

Our work with the Mayor of London to create his Good Work Standard was finalised in July 2019, with Peter Cheese joining Sadiq Khan as a speaker at the launch event at City Hall. Over the two-year process, our Policy Team had an active role in advising on and shaping what is included in the Standard, as well as testing it with employers and key stakeholders. We’ll continue to work with CIPD members in London to promote the Standard and encourage its uptake.

Similarly, in Manchester we continue to collaborate with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and we are now a key supporter and contributor to its Good Employment Charter. The Charter aims to support employers to create good jobs and deliver opportunities for people to progress and succeed. In Wales, we submitted a response to the Welsh Government's Fair Work Commission, set up to produce recommendations on how to promote employment practices to create fair work across Wales.

We're also involved with other developing good work initiatives, including the Fair Work Action Plan in Scotland, and the Fair Employment Charter in the Liverpool City Region.

Our UK Working Lives findings have also been used to produce regional and national practice briefings – one for the north of England, and the other for Scotland. These take a detailed look at job quality within these specific areas, and provide a range of tailored practical advice for people professionals to deliver better people practices.

Next year, we'll continue to invest in policy and public affairs work to support initiatives like these, and we’ll develop guidance to help employers put policy into practice.

Responding to the external environment

In response to political and social change affecting the world of work, we’ve continued to lead the conversation around issues affecting the people profession.

Preparing for Brexit

The UK's exit from the European Union continued to be high on the political agenda this year, and our regularly updated Brexit hub kept on top of events with information on latest developments and tailored practical advice for people practitioners. Among the content we produced for the hub was the guide Continuity Planning for HR: Brexit and beyond. This explained how HR teams can maintain business continuity and stability throughout the Brexit process.

We played a leading role in shaping the Migration Advisory Committee’s report on immigration policy post-Brexit. The report adopted many of our recommendations, including the removal of a cap on the number of workers allowed to enter the UK from outside the EU. The CIPD was the most quoted organisation out of more than 400 that submitted evidence. To support our members, we'll run a series of webinars and courses to guide participants through proposed post-Brexit immigration policy. We are also conducting detailed research with members to inform our response to the government white paper on the UK’s future skills-based immigration system.

"We played a leading role in shaping the Migration Advisory Committee’s report on immigration policy post-Brexit."

Tackling sexual harassment at work

In light of increasing reports of sexual harassment in the workplace, we've been working to equip our members to challenge cultures and instances of workplace harassment. We've worked with government to signpost what good practice looks like, and how to support employers in achieving it.

This year we made our second appearance in front of the Women and Equalities Select Committee. Our head of public policy, Ben Willmott, provided evidence on the use of non-disclosure agreements in discrimination cases, which was referenced in the final report and recommendations. We continue to engage with policy officials on their ongoing research into workplace sexual harassment.

Turning our research into practice

This year we scaled up efforts to take evidence into practice. Our research team shared insights with practitioner audiences at approximately 60 events and conferences and we developed several projects in close partnership with members to bring together practitioner knowledge and experience with academic expertise.

Support for small businesses

In January we successfully secured funding from the UK Government's Business Basics Fund to provide free HR and people management support to small or medium-sized businesses in Birmingham and to run a unique marketing messaging trial to improve SME engagement with business support services. In partnership with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), the project gives Birmingham businesses that employ up to 50 people free access to up to two days of HR support – from providing advice on recruitment and job specifications, to managing absence and performance, and training staff.

Our learnings from this project – and previous pilots – have informed our ongoing engagement with government on the types of support smaller firms need. It also helped us develop, with funding from JP Morgan, our People Skills Hub – a free online resource that contains a range of guidance and tools to help small businesses improve their people practices. Since launch the hub has helped 22,500 people, and nearly 80% of these were new to the CIPD.

"Our People Skills Hub has helped 22,500 people since launch, and nearly 80% of these were new to the CIPD."

Piloting new ways to champion better work

After a successful bid in April, we were awarded £182,540 from the Government Equalities Office (GEO) to run a 12-month 'parent returner' programme in Yorkshire and the Humber. The programme, which started in June, will see us supporting 150 parents who have been out of work for a year or more, and want to return to work at a level that matches their skills and previous experience. We'll also work with 25 employers in the region, supporting them to be 'Returner Champions', and encouraging them to open routes back into employment for parents. In due course, we’ll apply learnings from the local pilot to roll this work out in other parts of the UK.

Another pilot we ran was our Flexible Hiring Champions programme with the Timewise Foundation. From July 2018 to January 2019, we provided 20 volunteer employers with the training and support they needed to offer flexible working opportunities within their organisations. The pilot resulted in a number of the employers changing their existing working practices permanently for both new and existing employees – including advertising roles as open to flexible arrangements. What we learned from this pilot will feed into our Parent Returner Programme.

In the community: our volunteering programmes

Every year, thousands of volunteers use their experience as HR or L&D professionals to help us champion better work and working lives. This year, the number of volunteers working across our various community investment programmes reached 3,699 – this is in addition to the 900 members who volunteer in our local branches.

"The number of volunteers working across our various community investment programmes reached 3,699."

We continue to partner with the Careers & Enterprise Company to recruit Enterprise Advisers (EAs). We recruited another 340 EAs this year, bringing our total number of active advisers up to 946. These EAs work within schools to support students and raise their awareness of the range of career options open to them, as well as introducing students to local employers. They also help prepare students for the world of work, providing tips on job interviews and CVs, as well as helping to improve the essential soft skills needed in the workplace. Advisers are now estimated to have supported around 500,000 students across the UK.

On top of this, half of employers with an EA are making changes to better support young people to enter the labour market, and 36% cited the adviser as a catalyst for these changes. Our Steps Ahead mentoring programme continues to go from strength to strength. After the recruitment of 282 new mentors this year, 2,508 CIPD members are now registered as Steps Ahead mentors and are actively helping their mentees achieve roles in their career of choice. Mentors predominantly help to provide employability skills, but mentees also reported improved communications skills, feeling more confident, and having better self-esteem. On average, six in ten mentees secure work as a result of taking part in the programme, and 80% of them achieve roles in their career of choice.

"We've set up graduate schemes and apprenticeships. This was always in the pipeline but this experience accelerated the need for creating programmes. We’re creating more meaningful experiences based on knowledge of schools and student expectations."

Anonymous employer on the benefits of the Enterprise Adviser scheme

One of our Steps Ahead mentors, Nichole Higgins, won Mentor of the Year at the National Mentoring Awards 2019 – reflecting her hard work in helping young people have the confidence and know-how to secure employment.

Our next steps for the programme will be to build on the proven success of a one-to-one mentoring model, and to test and develop new approaches that will allow us to have higher-volume interactions. This expanded reach will allow us to have even more impact in helping disadvantaged groups access the labour market.

"The programme [...] is one of the best support options any Jobcentre work coach can offer."

DWP representative on the Steps Ahead Mentoring programme