CIPD fellowship row as experience ignored

Senior HR professionals have accused the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) of hypocrisy and discrimination by not recognising business experience gained outside the HR function.

Leading figures have said that the CIPD’s chartered fellow grade of membership, which requires 10 years of ‘relevant’ experience, discriminates against people who have entered HR after having worked in other areas of business.

Emma Hughes, director of group HR at optician chain Specsavers, said she was refused fellowship status despite having several years’ operational management experience running hotel and cinema chains.

“I now have the situation that I’m the most senior HR person in the company, but am refused the option to upgrade my membership, whereas someone who is more junior than me in my team has a fellowship,” she told Personnel Today.

She accused the CIPD of “hypocrisy” as it continues to push the message that HR people need more wide-ranging business experience.

“The CIPD needs to send out a consistent message that experience in other parts of the business is good, and won’t adversely affect your career in HR,” Hughes said.

Another senior HR director said the CIPD’s time-served approach to membership was “old hat and irrelevant”. He added: “There is a growing need for a more balanced business approach to HR qualifications that incorporate wider business knowledge and skills.”

Hughes said the CIPD had told her other HR professionals had complained about the situation: “I feel let down by my own governing body. I want the CIPD to recognise and value what I do.”

A CIPD spokeswoman said: “We are reviewing the articulation for all membership grades to reflect competencies and their impact on an organisation.”

Fellowship facts

Chartered fellow is the highest grade of membership available from the CIPD. It indicates that the individual has achieved qualifications and career progression over at least 10 years to be in a strategic position in the business and is committed to continuing professional development.

Barometer question

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