Ten years with the CIPD

It’s been an unbelievable ten years since I joined the CIPD as chief executive in July 2012. I was as excited then about the opportunity to help our profession and professional body as I continue to be now, but couldn’t possibly have imagined all the things that happened during that time. 

In 2012 we were still unravelling the impact of the global financial crisis. People everywhere were finding their voice, encouraged through the rapid growth of social media, and demanding change, politically, socially, and environmentally. Then in 2016 Brexit and the election of Donald Trump were signalling concerns from many about the direction of globalisation.

Now the tragic war in Ukraine has sent shockwaves through political and business thinking, pushing further against globalisation and beliefs in who we can trust, causing rapid adjustments to business models and national priorities.

Climate change has also come to the fore as a business and political agenda, and we all need to do more. And then the global pandemic hit, a defining moment of our times. Now we are confronting another crisis – an economic crisis where already we are seeing rising inflation and costs of living not seen in most people’s lifetimes. 

Business is not only greatly impacted by all these changes, but is more and more of a driving force itself, and must be a force for good.  

Our profession too has been and continues to be, front and centre in responding to many of these challenges. Inclusion, wellbeing, employee voice and engagement, flexible working, skills development and adaptability, as well as a focus on culture, workforce planning, and operating models have all been driving themes for us - but also for business leaders. 

I have been saying since I started that there had never been a more important time and need for our profession with all the changes happening in the world of work. But how true has that become. 

Looking ahead, these themes are enduring and will continue to dominate. We will have to work ever more closely with technology and automation as the nature of work and jobs changes, to champion people at work and the principles of good work, fairness and responsible business. 

This also means that we need to continue to grow our capabilities, to professionalise and invest in ourselves more, to bring the evidence to challenge and drive value through people to support business priorities and performance. By continuing to grow our role and confidence in what we do, we also raise awareness of the value of our profession and our position at the heart of business. But we also know we need to attract more diverse people and capabilities into the profession. 

As your professional body, we have worked hard to support you, and to help to promote the issues that matter to create a positive future of work. Our membership has significantly increased as have student numbers, and we are working with many more organisations. We have invested in research, content and learning, and the capabilities to better support career and professional development. Our Profession Map has become a standard and has evolved to incorporate the newer areas of the profession that are so important to our future. 

I am proud of all that we have achieved together as a profession and as a community. The future is uncertain, but we have to stand up and be part of shaping that future. That is a compelling opportunity, with the reminder of that well-known Peter Drucker observation that the best way to predict the future is to create it.

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