With a purpose of championing better work and working lives, we rely on a growing community of people professionals to ensure work is good for people, businesses, economies and society. And as their professional body, it’s our job to make sure our members have everything they need to succeed.

Key highlights

  • 154,364 members around the world
  • Membership outside of the UK grew 6.3%
  • 32,254 student members
  • 47,852 Chartered Members and Fellows
  • 2,000+ members signed up to new research panel
  • £5.5 million invested in member services

A record year for membership growth

CIPD membership grew for the seventh consecutive year, reaching 154,364 by 30 June 2019 – beating our target of 153,000. This was a growth of 3.2% and a sign of growing interest in professional development and accreditation amongst those working in human resources (HR), learning and development (L&D), organisation design and development (OD&D), and other related disciplines.

Student membership rose to 32,254 – exceeding our target by 2,254 – but we missed our target for Chartered grades by 1,148, closing the year with 47,852 Chartered Members and Chartered Fellows.

Most of our members live and work in the UK, but our international reach is growing year by year. Overall, membership outside of the UK grew 6.3% year-on-year. In the Middle East we saw particularly strong demand for our training and qualifications: student membership grew 33% to 2,039 and total membership reached 4,165, exceeding our target by more than 500 members. Our first ever annual conference in the region helped raise awareness of the CIPD’s purpose and offerings, as well as strengthening relationships with clients and partners, which we expect to fuel further growth in the years to come.

In Ireland, membership grew modestly to 5,876 members, falling just short of our target of 5,922. We saw a small decline in total membership numbers in Asia but expect new strategic partnerships in the region to drive growth in the future.

"We're proud to be career partner of choice for so many professionals"

We're proud to be career partner of choice for so many professionals, but there’s still a significant proportion of the profession who aren't yet members. Our quarterly brand perception survey showed some positive shifts this year in terms of would-be members' awareness of what we do, the extent to which they perceive us to be fulfilling our purpose, and the extent to which we are championing the profession. But we've got more work to do in demonstrating our relevance and value to this group.

Learn more about our growth strategy

Strengthening the membership pipeline

Growing numbers of students is a positive sign of a thriving profession and a professional body that's a valued career partner. In particular, digital qualifications are proving to be an increasingly popular way to gain the knowledge needed for a successful career in the people profession. But qualifications aren’t right for everyone, and to achieve our growth targets we need an even stronger pipeline. So we took steps this year to make membership more accessible – without compromising our respected and rigorous standards.

A flexible but rigorous approach to professional recognition

We need to make it as easy as possible for the right calibre of professionals to progress through our membership levels to achieve Chartered status. This will help ensure that when Chartered members reach the end of their careers and retire from membership, there’s a strong pipeline of talented and experienced professionals to replace them.

"We've made our Experience Assessment and upgrading process more flexible, while maintaining our respected and rigorous standards."

That's why we've made our Experience Assessment and upgrading processes more flexible, while maintaining our respected and rigorous standards. For example, as of September 2019, we're no longer specifying the activities professionals should be doing to be a member – we now ask that they demonstrate knowledge, behaviours and impact in line with the new Profession Map.

We've also increased our investment in working with our most senior members to make sure we do everything we can to keep membership relevant and valuable for those at the peak of their careers (read more on page 21 of our annual report).

Apprenticeships: a budding route to membership

Apprenticeships have become a key focus of government policy in the UK in recent years, unlocking new career progression options for a number of professions. Apprenticeships in HR and L&D offer structured, entry-level routes into the people profession and into CIPD membership. They also provide experienced workers with the opportunity to upskill, progress their careers and qualify for professional membership. The CIPD is an End Point Assessment Organisation for Level 3 and Level 5 apprenticeships in both HR and L&D, and a total of 554 employers have chosen to work with us to date. So far, 65 people have successfully completed their HR apprenticeship, with another 864 already in the pipeline at the time of writing. We expect to see the first L&D apprentices complete their End Point Assessments in 2020.

Mariam Anjorin

"My apprenticeship gave me the skills and knowledge to support HR improvements. It also motivated me to study for my Level 5 qualification. I’m now working on an exciting transformation programme and volunteer in my local CIPD branch."

Mariam Anjorin, HR Project Officer, City Corporation

Improving the membership experience

We work hard to continually improve the membership experience and the value people professionals get from being part of our professional community. This year, we invested just over £5.5 million in member services. To help ensure we continue to invest in the right places, we gathered feedback and insights – both qualitative and quantitative – from almost 10,000 members this year. We invited every single member in the UK and Ireland* to take part in a comprehensive survey exploring some of the challenges with value and relevance that our quarterly brand perception surveys revealed last year. We achieved a representative sample of more than 6,000 members – their opinions have fed directly into new services we introduced this year as well as our plans for the future.

We gathered a further 4,000 member insights from a range of other surveys, one-to-one interviews and focus groups. These enabled us to delve more deeply into some of the most popular wants and needs the survey uncovered. We also established a new research panel to help us test ideas for new products and services. It’s open to all and more than 2,000 members have already signed up.

Combined with insights from our day-to-day interactions with members, as well as our ongoing quarterly brand perception survey (which gives every single member the opportunity to feed back on their member experience each year), this research gave us a wealth of insights to inform our strategy for the future.

"87% of members feel we’re successfully championing the profession and 78% feel personally connected to our purpose."

Positively, our research revealed that 87% of members feel we're successfully championing the profession and 78% feel personally connected to our purpose. But it also revealed areas in which we need to work harder for our members. See the 'Action plan' for details of what we learned and how we’ve responded.

* We also surveyed members in the Middle East and Asia, the results of which came in at the very end of our financial year. At the time of writing, our customer insights team is still analysing the results.

Action plan

What we learned

77% of members say the CIPD is an important career partner, but just 69% feel membership is relevant to them and their career.

What we've done

We developed 70 new pages of careers advice on our website.

We published new resources to support those returning to work after a career break or extended period of absence.

We revamped our support hub for student members, including new FAQs to help them through their studies. And to improve support for students studying directly with CIPD Training, we upgraded our digital learning platform to provide a far better learning experience.

What we'll do next

We’ll expand our careers support with further resources and case studies, including more mid- and junior-career role models.

Longer term, we’ll develop specific tools and resources to support members on their chosen career path. Research is already under way to support this.

We're also gathering insights from Chartered Members and Fellows about the types of careers support they’d like to see.

What we've learned

79% of members say our purpose guides the actions they take in their professional life, but just 53% feel the CIPD helps them do that in their organisation or community.

56% say CIPD content is relevant to members 'at my level' and 61% agree that CIPD membership is relevant to their current role.

Satisfaction with our employment law helpline was rated above average and we received specific requests for more support when it comes to building more ethical workplaces.

What we've done

We redesigned our online knowledge hub in line with member feedback.

We reviewed our content strategy and began publishing practical guidance alongside all research and policy work.

We published a range of new resources to support members who work as self-employed consultants.

We launched an anonymous 'Workplace Dilemmas in Confidence' discussion forum to support members in tricky situations at work, and made our much-valued employment law helpline available 24 hours a day. CIPD members made 15,421 calls to the helpline during the year.

What we'll do next

We'll launch new content to support members' development in line with the new Profession Map and ensure all our content is better aligned to users' needs.

We'll build on our UK Working Lives survey and People Skills Hub to develop a programme of work that will help the people profession understand what championing better work and working lives looks like in their organisation and equip businesses with the tools they need to make 'good work' a reality.

What we've learned

On average, members rate the value of membership at 7 out of 10.

The more benefits our members use, the higher the value they perceive.

But awareness of benefits is low and the average member uses just four of the 26 on offer.

What we've done

We developed a new webpage highlighting all the benefits available to members, under headings requested by members: 'Supporting You', 'Development', 'Networks' and 'Saving you Money'. More than 41,000 people had viewed this page by year-end. Our marketing campaign focusing on some of the less tangible ways in which members value their membership was seen more than a million times.

Increased marketing of our highly valued online Community platform saw usage grow by 50%. And an improved user journey for our electronic journals platform (EBSCO) – which gives members free access to a vast library of business and academic information – saw article downloads increase by more than 200%.

What we'll do next

We'll create more tangible value for members by developing more member-only content and resources to help them put research and policy into practice.

We'll use our new research panel to test new products and services to add value to the member experience.

We'll review all of our communications to make sure members can stay up to date about the member benefits they value most, in ways that suit them best.

We'll build capability and capacity in our UK nations and regions teams, to increase our ability to offer value-add services to members at a local level.

What we've learned

Just 22% of members say we’re easy to do business with; a number of high- profile service issues this year have compounded this.

We achieved year-on-year improvements across all our service level agreements (SLAs), so we expect to see this score improve in future.

What we've done

We’ve taken steps to overcome some of the operational issues that have made us more difficult to do business with than our members and customers should expect: we’ve increased staffing and training levels in our contact centre, upgraded our phone system and made a number of improvements to our website.

We piloted a new online results submission process across 17 of our study centres, to make it easier for centres to submit student results. As a result, we'll be able to issue certificates recognising our student members' qualifications faster than ever before, as well as minimise errors.

What we'll do next

We'll continue to invest in staff, systems and digital transformation in both member-facing areas and our back office.

We'll work with a specialist data consultancy to investigate the root causes of the issues members have experienced in relation to our marketing databases.

We'll roll out our new online results submission platform to all study centres to make it easier for students and learning providers to do business with us.

What we've learned

Throughout the year, members told us they’d like to see us become more environmentally conscious.

What we've done

We substantially reduced the plastic used in our membership cards issued in May 2019. In response to concerns about the quality of these cards, we later successfully sourced more durable cards that are plastic-free and made of fully recyclable card.

What we'll do next

We'll incorporate a digital 'membership card' into our new mobile Community app and change the outer packaging of our two print publications – People Management and Work. – to improve recyclability.

We'll develop a holistic sustainability plan covering all aspects of our work.

Upholding professional conduct

All CIPD members must commit to upholding and maintaining the standards and behaviours set out in our Code of Professional Conduct.

We received 77 complaints about alleged breaches of the Code in 2018–19, accounting for 0.05% of total members.

See page 15 of our annual report for more information.