Do I need to have a CIPD qualification?

I moved into HR a few years ago and have been working as a HR manager for a
couple of years. Although I am happy with the company, I worry about how
difficult it will be to get a similar job if I am not CIPD qualified. With work
and family commitments, I do not have the time at the moment to devote to
getting this qualification. What should I do?

Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy

There are two types of company, those which look for their senior roles to
be filled by CIPD professionally qualified staff and those which make their
appointment decisions based on experience.

With the CIPD looking at individual chartered status over the next few years
the qualification will be valued more and being without it may be a barrier –
although not insurmountable – to career progression.

If you have over two years’ HR experience and at least five years’
management experience, then you can gain corporate membership of the CIPD
through the professional assessment route.

Peter Wilford, consultant, Chiumento

You ask whether experience alone is sufficient or will future employers seek
professional qualifications before considering you. To give three quick
answers: it depends on the blend of work and qualifications; not all employers
share the same view; in practice, how you go about your job search can say as
much about you as either your qualifications and experience.

You should keep abreast of developments through reading and developing your
skills in other ways – through short training courses, for example. This will
mean you will have more to mention on your CV.

A sure way of improving your chances of landing the right role is to ensure
you use every avenue into the job market. One reason that the
"proactive" approaches – direct contact and networking – tend to work
well is that employers tend to treat your application on a more individual
basis.

Your excellent track record may win employers over in preference to a
qualified HR manager.

Clare Judd, HR consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes

You need to make yourself as marketable as possible. The CIPD qualification
has become more of a recognised and essential qualification for HR
professionals and employers. However, some employers view demonstrable
experience as more important than qualifications although the CIPD
qualification does provide employers with a comfort level when faced with candidates
at screening and interview stage.

I suggest you contact the CIPD or local universities/colleges to gauge what
methods of learning are open to you. Many learning programmes are available on
a distance and flexible learning basis.

Does your current employer sponsor employees to gain professional
qualifications? This may be an opportunity to gain financial assistance as well
as negotiating some flexible working hours to allow you to study.

The CIPD qualification would certainly supplement your work experience to
date when searching for a new opportunity.

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