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Where these refer to an organisation or company usually known by its initials, give the full title the first time, with the abbreviation in brackets. After that, use the initials only. For example, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). See also acronyms

If the abbreviation is generally known to your audience, there's no need to spell it out in full the first time. For example: HR, IT, CV. 

Do not use full stops in abbreviations (etc, WH Smith, HG Wells, No 10, UK, US). The exception is for citations in source notes – Jones, J. and Smith, B. (2022).  

Academic Associate/Member/Fellow   

Do not use accents on anglicised words, such as cafe. Use accents on words where the meaning could be misinterpreted (resume/résumé). Always use correct accents on people’s names. 

accreditation of prior certificated learning (APCL) 

accredited centres 

Use the full term first, with acronym in brackets, then acronym thereafter – unless otherwise noted in style guide. For example, Office for National Statistics (ONS). Repeat the full term in lengthy text if there is a risk audience may have forgotten. If a company is mentioned only once, you don’t need to use the acronym at all.  

If an acronym is pronounced as individual letters (BBC, YMCA, CEO), these are capped up. If you commonly pronounce the acronym as a word, they are upper and lower case (Acas, Nasa, Unicef, Interpol). Exceptions: If CIPD partners use a different style to this, please follow their preferred style. If unsure, check their website. 

Act of Parliament
For legislation, include the year in the first instance, eg The Health and Safety Act 2002. If we repeatedly refer to it, we can abbreviate to HSA 2022 (add first abbreviation in brackets after spelling out to make it clear). See also Regulations

Acts are upper case when using the full name, eg Equality Act 2010, Trade Union Act 2016; but lower case on second reference, eg: ‘the act helps to inform EDI policies’. The word ‘bill/bills’ should be lower case.

Use for both male and female actors (not actress). 

Write as 29 Acacia Road, London E1 6AN, UK. 

Advanced qualification  
Use instead of Level 7 qualification. 

Advanced Practitioner Standards 

advanced standing adviser  

Never hyphenate adverbs that end in ly (wonderfully written news story, hotly anticipated white paper). You can use a hyphen in other adverbial phrases to clarify meaning in the sentence (much-loved sister, well-written news story). 

Not advisor – unless it’s part of someone’s official job title. 

How does your personality affect whether you will be hired? (verb – to influence someone or something). 

She had a positive effect on her colleagues (noun – a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause). 

Affect the outcome of the consultation (verb – cause something to happen/bring about). 

Affiliate Member/Membership 


Only include age if it’s relevant, for example, when referring to an initiative available to a particular group. A 20-year-old woman took on an apprenticeship; a 21-year-old; 20 years old; The apprentice was in her 20s. 

A levels 

American English  
Only use for proper nouns and company names (World Health Organization, The GSA Center of Excellence). 

Not amidst. 

Not amongst. 

Only use & in acronyms (eg L&D, OD&D) or in official company names (eg Ben & Jerry’s). Use ‘and’ in all other cases. 

Not &. 


antisocial, anticlimax  
Not hyphenated. 

Hyphenated, but instead say: ‘people who oppose the use of vaccines’. 

any more  
Not anymore. 

Use apostrophes to show that a letter has been left out or for the possessive case of nouns (eg it’s sunny today; the children’s playground is busy). 

Don’t use them for possessive pronouns, plurals of years or abbreviations. Eg yours, hers. The 1980s. We received many CVs. He liked watching old videos. 

Examples of common uses, as follows: Claire’s essay, two years’ time, old people’s home, children’s workshop, goat’s cheese, my parents’ wishes, five years’ experience.  

But watch out for sentences that are simply plural: He has 15 years left on his mortgage (no apostrophe). We launched the company in the 2010s. 

With names, add ’‘s’: Kate Moss’s career, St James’s Park. But if pronunciation is awkward, don’t add the extra ‘s’ (Sophocles’ first play). 

apprenticeships, apprentice 

approved development and assessment centres (ADACs) 

approved status 

Refers to people who have ethnic lineage in Arabic majority speaking countries such as Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, etc.

Use only in reference to collated reported data and statistics – otherwise refer to the specific minority ethnic group – Bangladeshi, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, etc. 

assessment against national standards 

The terms ‘autistic person’ or ‘person with autism’ are preferred (avoid ‘autistic spectrum disorder’).  

Associate Member/Membership 



baby boomer  
We prefer not to use this term as it’s a sweeping stereotype. Refer to numerical age groups when necessary in research. 

bachelor's degree 

Use ‘ethnic minority people’ or ‘ethnic minority group(s)’. Or be as specific as possible eg Pakistani people, black people, Chinese people. (In 2021, the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities recommended that the UK Government stop using the term BAME.) 

bank holiday 

Bank of England 

BBC One, BBC Two 

best practice  
Avoid using to describe HR practice, because it’s the antithesis of the principles-led, evidence-based approach the CIPD advocates (what’s best for one org, or in one situation, might not be best in another). There’s no single correct alternative phrase to use – it will depend on the context. Think about why something might be considered best practice and focus on that instead. 

bestseller, bestselling  
No hyphen. 

Between 20 and 25 people turned up for the interview – not between 20-25 people. 

When used as a prefix, it’s biofuel, bioengineering etc. 

Lower case when referring to law. Eg While acts are in their draft form and being considered by Members of Parliament, they are called 'bills.  

Do not use. A term meaning 'black, indigenous, and people of colour’. BIPOC receives some of the same criticism as ‘people of colour’ for being too broad. Use ‘ethnic minority people’ or ‘ethnic minority group(s)’. Or be as specific as possible eg Pakistani people, black people, Chinese people.  

bitcoin, Bitcoin  
Use bitcoins (with a lower case b) to label units of the currency, and Bitcoin (upper case B) to label the protocol, software, and community.  

Bitesize research
CIPD newsletter formerly In a Nutshell

Lower case ‘b’ when talking about race. 

Black Lives Matter (BLM)  
Use acronym after spelling out once. 

Use: blind people, blind and partially sighted people, people/person with visual impairments. Do not use: The blind. 



(Leeds) Branch  
(place + Branch). 

branch adviser  
(job title). 

branch adviser(s)  

Branch Chairs’ Day 

Branch Council  

See Great Britain/UK. 

bullet lists  
There are two styles for bullet lists: bullets that are a continuation of a sentence and bullets that form full sentences. 

When bullets are a sentence continuation, break the sentence with a colon followed by the bullet points. Use lower case for the items listed, with no commas or semi-colons after them, and finish with a full stop. For example: 

In all cases images should be:  

  • people-focused  
  • bright  
  • dynamic.  

It is OK to use ‘and’ at the end of the penultimate bullet point, where appropriate. 

If your bullets form full sentences, start each item with an upper-case letter and end with a full stop. For example: 

  • Just over a quarter of respondents say that employees found to have used illegal drugs would be reported to the police. 
  • One in five say this has never happened in their organisation.  


capital letters  

Only use initial capitals for proper nouns such as the names of people, course modules, membership grades and titles of publications (see also report titles in this style guide for clarification/exceptions).  

Only capitalise the first word in headings and subheadings.  

Job titles are capitalised only when they are proper names, ie Mary Smith, Director of HR, eBay (the HR director at eBay, Mary Smith)

Only capitalise internal departments and teams within organisations when they are part of a job title and when necessary for clarity. For generic use they should remain lower case (marketing, customer services, payroll, etc).

For example:

  • Mary Smith, Senior Manager, Customer Services
  • Mary Smith is a senior manager in the customer services department
  • The Research team at the CIPD
  • The research team involved in

Exceptions: For political job titles, use initial caps only when the title is next to the name, eg Vice President Kamala Harris, but Kamala Harris became vice president in 2021. And, government departments take capital letters: Home Office, Department for Education. And, at the CIPD, we cap up certain internal departments for clarity, eg Knowledge content.

Always add extra information in a caption (something you haven’t already told the reader), rather than stating the obvious. So instead of: ‘An apprentice working in the warehouse at Tesco’, say something like: ‘Tesco takes on 8,000 apprentices per year’. 

career management  
No hyphen. 

case study  
No hyphen. 

21st century, fifth century. 

Cerebral Palsy  
Use the terms ‘a person that suffers from Cerebral Palsy/has Cerebral Palsy’. 

Channel 4, Channel 5 

Chartered Companion 

Chartered Fellow 

Chartered Fellowship 

Chartered Member  
When you’re a Chartered Member, you can use the designation Chartered MCIPD after your name. 


childcare, childminding 

(the) CIPD  
We’re the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.  

  • Don’t spell out the CIPD acronym.  
  • The CIPD is singular, as are all organisations. So we say ‘the CIPD is’ and never ‘the CIPD are’. But, we can say ‘we’ or ‘our’ to refer to as the people that make up the CIPD, eg ‘Our purpose is to champion better work and working lives’.  
  • When we talk about CIPD research or surveys, we can say, for example: Our survey report considers the challenges of labour shortages across the UK. 
  • Always put ‘the’ in front of CIPD (unless it’s an adjective, such as ‘CIPD members’ or ‘CIPD resources’) eg ‘The CIPD is incorporated under Royal Charter’ but ‘CIPD membership is internationally recognised’. 

The CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition  
The acronym ‘ACE’ is only ever used internally. 

CIPD Community  
The CIPD Community is an online forum that gives CIPD members a platform to share their knowledge, network and receive guidance from others. 

CIPD member/membership  

CIPD Professional Standards  
If referring to part of the Professional Standards. 

CIPD qualified  
Not a phrase officially recognised by the CIPD, but often used by recruiters. You can be a CIPD member, or you can hold a CIPD qualification (or both), but they mean different things. A qualification means you demonstrated a level of knowledge at a certain point in time (which could be 20 years ago), while CIPD membership shows a current commitment to the CPD and professionalism. 

CIPD Update  
CIPD e-newsletter (italicise, as it’s a publication). 

CIPD website 

cisgender (cis)  
Used to denote a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex. Please note that we would always refer to ‘women’ generally when talking about women in the workplace. However, when talking about trans equality, diversity and inclusion and, sex/gender issues, ‘cis’ can/should be used as a point of clarification. 

Citizens Advice  
Don’t add ‘Bureau(x)’. 

civil service, civil servant 



Code of Conduct and Ethics

See employees for more information on describing the workforce. 

A colon should be used to introduce a quote, rather than a comma eg The head of HR said: “We need to hire more IT staff.” See also reported speech in this style guide for examples. 

A colon should also be used before a list, eg her work focused on the following key areas: employee engagement, recruitment and employer brand. 

Upper case follows colons in: headlines, captions, report titles, reported speech. In running text, follow with lower case. See also semi-colon and bullet lists

Generally, add when necessary to pace the sentence or ensure the meaning of the sentence is clear. Also, to separate extra information, eg The white paper, which was written in response to a government consultation, will be published in June. 

You should only put a comma after the final ‘and’ in a sentence if it helps the reader eg The HR team was assessing its onboarding, health and wellbeing, and staff retention strategies. 

common sense (noun)  
The student used his common sense. 

common-sense (adjective)  
It’s a common-sense approach to a difficult issue. 

company names  
Always singular, and use the spelling/style that the company uses – eg easyJet, TikTok, LinkedIn. Courts, school boards, and the government are also singular. Correct example below: 

Tesco has announced its biggest ever recruitment drive. The supermarket giant – which operates 5,000 stores around the world – expects applications to be high. 

compare to/compare with  
Compare ‘to’ is to liken two things: eg Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day; compared to her sister she was far taller. 

Compared ‘with’ is used to show a difference between two things eg Unemployment has risen by 3% compared with the same period last year. 

Examples: She complimented him on his L&D programme (ie an expression of praise or admiration). 

She sent him a complimentary copy of People Management magazine (ie free). 

The financial health policy complemented their health and wellbeing offering (ie completed). 

Use contractions such as: don’t, can’t, you’d, we’ll, they’ll, it’s. It helps cut the waffle and enhances the conversational, collaborative and human tone. It’s also fine to start sentences with ‘And’, ‘But’, ‘So’ or ‘However’. 

content management system (CMS) 
CIPD product

Continuing Professional Development  



copyright symbol ©  
Use on first reference only. 


Or ‘COVID-19’, or just ‘COVID’. Also ‘long COVID’ (no hyphen). 

corporate social responsibility (CSR) 


Council (CIPD) 

Or ‘coronavirus’, or just ‘COVID’. Also ‘long COVID’ (no hyphen). 

All upper case – High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court. 


One of the CIPD’s strategic partners. It provides CIPD members with access to a 24/7 support line for employment law, HR and health and safety advice. 


For US dollars, use $50. If it’s another country, use HK$100 (Hong Kong); A$100 (Australian). 

CV Never ‘curriculum vitae’. 

cyber attack/cyber threat  
But cybercrime, cybersecurity, cyberspace, cyberbully, cybercafe, cybernetics, cyberwars, cyberterrorism. 


darknet, dark web 

Use normal hyphens for hyphenated words like two-fold, check-in, work-life balance. Use the longer en dashes to indicate a digression or break in thought, eg: The HR manager – who was going to the CIPD conference on Friday – had to write a report before then.  
Never use longer em dashes.

Although technically a plural noun (datum is the singular form that is rarely used), data takes a singular verb, eg ‘data is important’, rather than ‘data are important’. 

No hyphen. 

date ranges
January – March 2022 (use en dash when it replaces ‘to’, eg, ‘from January to March’, but never to replace ‘and’ – in this case, should be spelled out: ‘between January and March’).

15 May 2020 or on Monday, 25 May 2022. Don’t include ‘th’ or ‘rd’ after the date. Don’t put the word ‘the’ in front of the date.  

deaf person/people 
User of British Sign Language (BSL), person with a hearing impairment (avoid: deaf and dumb, deaf mute). While the word ‘deaf’ can mean loss of hearing it can also be used with a capital D to refer to the Deaf community. 

1930, 1960s etc. 
noughties, and 000s. The decade after the noughties is often referred to as the ‘tens’ or the ‘teens’ but there’s no definitive answer. 

roaring 20s, swinging 60s.  


defined benefit (DB) pension scheme 

defined contribution (DC) pension scheme 

Departments (government)  
Department for Education, Home Office, Foreign Office, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Work and Pensions (then DWP after first use).  

desirable skills  
The CIPD has removed ‘desirable skills’ from its recruitment advice and job ads to promote equal opportunities and fall in line with other organisations. 

different from  
Use this rather than different to. 

direct speech 
See reported speech

Directive (EU legislation)

Use: disabled person/person (avoid: the handicapped, the disabled, invalid, crippled).  
Use: non-disabled/people without disabilities (avoid ‘normal’ people, able-bodied, healthy).  

There is seldom a need to refer to a person’s ability or disability. Adopt the ‘person-centred’ approach, don’t focus on the disability (for example, ‘a person with different learning ability’), and avoid defining a person/group by their disabilities or conditions.  

For example, instead of ‘an epileptic’ or ‘a diabetic’, use ‘person with epilepsy’ or ‘someone who has diabetes’. Use ‘a blind person’ or ‘people with visual impairments’, rather than ‘the blind’. Use ‘a person with cerebral palsy’, rather than ‘the handicapped’. 

Use: ‘person with dyslexia’. Avoid: ‘a dyslexic’. 

domestic abuse/domestic violence 

dos and don’ts 


driving licence 

To describe a person with dwarfism, use a ‘person with restricted growth’, or ‘a person with short height’. Note that many people with short height do not consider their height to be a disability. 


Use initial capital when referring to the planet – but ‘down to earth’. 

Also ‘west’, ‘north’, ‘south’, ‘the western world’, ‘westerners’, but ‘Middle East’. 

east Midlands 

eastern Europe 

east Asia 


e-commerce, e-book, e-learning, e-newsletter 

But ecosystem, ecohome. 

See affect. 

No full stops.  

elderly people  
Do not use the term elderly people. Use older people – and only include age if it’s relevant. 

Use a space after an ellipses but not before, then continue with a lower case letter if the sentence carries on… like this. No need for an extra full stop. 


To leave a country. Immigrate to arrive in a country. 

Singular, not plural (‘it’ not ‘they’). 

We should only use the term ‘employees’ or ‘workers’ when we really mean employees/workers according to legal definitions. ‘Staff’ is another commonly used term, but it can create a ‘them and us’ feeling, so should be used with caution. The terms ‘people’, ‘workforce’ and ‘team’ are preferred terms.  

Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) 

Inquire should be used when you are seeking information in a more formal way eg Shall I inquire about the price of exhibition tickets? While enquire means to ask in a more general way. So: send us your enquiry and we will respond in two workings days.  

enrol, enrolled 

equal opportunities 

equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)  
The CIPD preferred collective term for this topic. Use instead of inclusion and diversity (I&D), DEI, etc. 

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) 
After first mention, can be EHRC or just ‘the commission’. 

Do not use. Use ‘Inuit’ instead – a member of the Inuit people is called an Inuk. 

Refers to the social characteristics that people may have in common, such as language, religion, regional background, culture, foods, etc. 

ethnic minority people/ethnic minority groups  
Where it is necessary to describe collective experience, we advise the use of the term ‘ethnic minority people’ or ‘ethnic minority groups’. Or be as specific as possible, eg Pakistani people, black people, Chinese people. Avoid using ‘BAME’ or ‘BIPOC’.

Plural: euros and cents. 

exclamation marks  
Avoid using. Only use when you are writing an actual exclamation. She said: “Oh my God!” 

Executive Board 

Experience Assessment 





far east  
Use ‘east Asia’ or ‘south-east Asia’ instead. 


Means ‘overwhelmed’ (phase means a ‘stage’ someone or something is going through). 

The CIPD Festival of Work 

feedback (noun)  

to feed back (verb) 

fewer or less?  
Fewer means smaller in number (there are fewer 10ps in my money box). Less means less quantity – I have less money than I used to. 

Not fireman. 

first, second, third  
Not firstly, secondly, thirdly. 

fit note  
Or ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’ – do not use sicknote. 

Always hyphenate.

focus, focusing, focused  
Only one ‘s’. 

Online content
Don’t use footnotes – incorporate them into the text instead.

A foreword (with e) is an introduction at the start of a report or book. Whereas, we move ‘forward’ in time. 

ie CIPD Reward Forum. 


Foundation Member/Membership  
Use instead of Level 3 qualification. 

Two-thirds, three-quarters, a two-year-old boy, but the girl was two and a half. 

FTSE 100 

fulfil, fulfilling, fulfilment 

Always hyphenate. 

fundraiser, fundraising  


gamechanger, gameshow 

Describes someone who is attracted to people of the same sex as them. Use gay instead of homosexual. 

Use male (man/men) or female (woman/women) or boy or girl or transgender man/boy or transgender woman/girl.  

Respect the self-identity of individuals that may not match ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ gender ideas. For example, people may prefer the terms ‘trans woman/trans man’, ‘non-binary’, ‘gender variance’ or ‘gender non-conformity’. 

Also use female/woman or male/man at birth. Avoid ‘born a man or woman’; ‘allocated at birth’ or ‘assigned at birth’; ‘female-bodied’ or ‘male-bodied’. 

Increasingly, the term ‘cisgender’ (or cis) is used to denote a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex. The word ‘cis’ is an antonym of transgender.  

Please note that the CIPD would always refer to ‘women’ generally when talking about ‘women in the workplace’. However, when talking about trans equality, diversity and inclusion and, sex/gender issues, ‘cis’ can be used as a point of clarification. 

gender-neutral language  
Instead of ‘fireman’ use ‘firefighter’. Instead of ‘chairman’ use ‘chairperson’ or just ‘chair’.  

Gen X, Y or Z or Generation X, Y or Z  
In all cases, try not to use sweeping stereotypes. The CIPD recommends focusing on life stages instead of generational differences for effective people management. Refer to numerical age groups when necessary in research. 

Gen X, Generation X: born between the mid-1960s to late 1970s. 
Gen Y, Generation Y: Born early 1980s to mid-90s. 
Gen Z, Generation Z: Born mid-1990s to mid-2010s 
But note: millennials, baby boomers are lower case. 

God, god  
Upper case when referring to ‘they believed in God’. But ‘they treated the film star like a god’ is lower case. 

Capitalise when used as a proper name, ie the UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government, Northern Ireland Executive, the Italian Government, but subsequent references to 'the government' remains lower case. 

(level of CIPD membership). 

Graduate Member/Membership 

The headline for a graph should highlight a finding of note (eg Few SME employers plan to raise wellbeing benefits this year), or it could be a survey question. Eg Figure 1: Do you expect your health and wellbeing budget to change over the next 12 months? (%) 

The standfirst/second line should explain how the data was gathered/what the data shows. (eg UK survey of CIPD members on employee benefits). 

Great Britain/UK 
Also known as simply ‘Britain’, this is a geological term that refers to the island of Great Britain, which includes England, Scotland and Wales. The British Isles is a collection of islands, of which Great Britain is the largest. When referring to the United Kingdom (UK) – this is a country (sovereign state) that is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The nationality of someone from the United Kingdom is ‘British’, although some people prefer to call themselves English, Scottish, Welsh, or Northern Irish. 

green paper  
Also white paper. 


The Guardian 

CIPD series of publications. 


half-term, half-time, half mast, half dead, halfway 


Do not use. See disabled for more information.  

handmade, handout, handbook 


hay fever 

Haymarket Media Group  
CIPD partner, produces People Management and Work. magazines, as well as events, such as the CIPD Festival of Work. 

Use initial caps. Follow a colon in a headline with capital letter. 


Health and Safety Executive  
Then HSE after first use. 



High Court  
See also courts. 

high street  






For example, in news stories, should be written as: Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, if it’s part of their proper name. 

Always an adjective (‘an HR practitioner is’, ‘the HR profession is’); never a noun (‘HR is…’). The CIPD refers to ‘people professionals’, rather than ‘HR’, but recognises that HR is shorter and may be used in contexts when it relates specifically to the HR function (as opposed to L&D, OD, etc). 

CIPD product provided by partner Croner. 

humanity, humankind, human-made  

Not man, mankind, man-made

human capital/assets  
‘Assets’ and ‘capital’ are resources a business can exploit. Calling people ‘assets’ or ‘capital’ is not much better than calling them a slave. It’s OK in some specific contexts to talk about ‘human capital management’ or ‘human capital reporting’, but we shouldn’t use human capital in place of ‘people’ or ‘workforce’. Instead of saying ‘people are an organisation’s most valuable asset’ or ‘business must invest in human capital’, say ‘people should sit at the heart of business decisions, or ‘people are the most important drivers of value in an organisation’. 

hybrid working 

Should be used in compound adjectives, eg a group of 10-year-old girls, a six-page document, a part-time worker (this does not apply to Latin phrases so you would say, for example, on an ad hoc basis). Hyphens should not be used with adverbs that end in ‘ly’ – eg highly anticipated report, a brightly coloured bird. 

A dash separating two parts of a sentence should always be an en dash, eg The woman – who had never worked in HR before – had terrible people skills.  

Never use the longer em dashes. . 

See also dashes


No full stops. Avoid use in running text, to ensure clarity for all. 
images and accessibility  
Always provide the alternative (alt) text to accompany images for people who are blind or have low vision. When writing an alt text description: Describe the information the image conveys, not the image itself; keep it short; do not duplicate text content surrounding the image, or include the words ‘image of’, ‘graphic of’. Complex images such as diagrams, charts, infographics, etc should be described in the text itself and summarised in a caption. 
To arrive in a country. Emigrate to leave a country. 
indigenous Australians  
Use this term for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 
inclusion and diversity/I&D  
As a collective term, use equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) instead, where appropriate. EDI is the approved CIPD topic term from November 2022. 
indigenous people  
Do not use. Much like the term ‘native’ this word is considered old-fashioned and offensive. Instead use the relevant ethnicity or nationality. For further information, see our Inclusive language guide. 
Always hyphenate. 
People’s names have no full stops and a space between them – eg, JB Priestley, CK Prahalad. The exception is for citations in source notes, where we can keep full stops in names, if they are originally styled that way – Jones, J. and Smith, B. (2022). 
Intermediate qualification  
Use instead of Level 5 qualification. 
in to or into?  
You walk into a room, but you go in to see a colleague. 
Do not use Eire or Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland can be described as a country or region.  
English spelling uses ise – organisation, realise, etc. Do not use ize (American spelling) unless it is part of an American company name. 
iPad, iMac, iPhone 
Use for report titles, books, films, exhibition names (CIPD Festival of Work). Do not italicise quotes or large chunks of text.  
it’s or its?  
It’s is a contraction of ‘it is’. Example: It’s been a hot summer. 
Its is a possessive form of ‘it’: Example: The CIPD published its biggest report of the year; the dog slept in its kennel. 



jobseekers allowance 


job titles  
Are capitalised only when they are proper names, ie May Smith, Director of HR, eBay (the HR director at eBay, Mary Smith).

job retention scheme 


job-share, job-sharer, job-sharing 

Use in general contexts. Example: use your own judgement when deciding whether to take your umbrella out today.  

Only use in legal contexts, eg when writing about the outcome of a tribunal.  


knowledge management  
No hyphen, unless essential for clarity. 


Kogan Page  
The CIPD’s official book publishing partner.  


Labour Market Outlook  
CIPD report. 

Labour Party 


laid off  
This not the same as being made redundant – it means to send workers home temporarily because their services are not needed.   


last or past?  
Last means ‘final’: the last three weeks before half term are the hardest. Past means ‘time that has just passed’: I have been on a course three times in the past year. 

Not learnt. 

learning disability  
Do use: people/person with a learning disability. Avoid: mentally handicapped. 

Refers to a woman who is attracted to women. Note that some women define themselves as gay or queer rather than lesbian.

less or fewer?  
Fewer means smaller in number (countable): I have fewer £10 notes than you/women commit fewer crimes than men. Less means smaller in quantity (uncountable): We need less talk and more action. There is less sand in the sandpit than before.  

Level 3, 5 and 7 qualifications  
May be appropriate for some internal comms, but please use 'Foundation’, ‘Intermediate’ and ‘Advanced qualifications’ instead when communicating with members. 

levelling up 

Although there are several acronyms for this community, at the CIPD we typically use LGBT+. 

licence or license  
Licence is the noun, license is the verb. So, the Uber driver had a licence. The Uber driver was fully licensed. 

No hyphen. 


line-up (noun)  
As in, a line-up of people. 

line manager  
The preferred term for the CIPD is 'people manager' but 'line manager' is a relevant synonym, as it is widely recognised and a valid search term. Use as a synonym within copy, especially on key people manager content.  


See bullet lists. 

live stream (noun) livestream (verb)  
Examples: Live stream technology is widely used in the gaming sector (noun). He will livestream his whole wedding reception (verb). 

No hyphen (noun). Log in (verb). 

log out  
(Verb) no hyphen. 

long COVID 



low-skilled workers  
Use instead of unskilled workers. 

Put in inverted commas, rather than italics, to differentiate from song titles, and separate a new line with a slash: ‘You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar/when I met you’. 


Use ‘male’ instead when describing someone, eg The first male state registered nurse was George Dunn of Liverpool. 

master's degree 

membership grades
Affiliate Member
Academic Associate (Academic Assoc CIPD)  
Academic Member (Academic MCIPD)
Academic Fellow (Academic FCIPD)
Associate (Assoc CIPD)
Chartered Member (Chartered MCIPD)
Chartered Fellow (Chartered FCIPD)
Chartered Companion (Chartered CCIPD)
Foundation Member (Foundation CIPD)
Student Member

Do not use single quotes when using designatory grades in a sentence. Example:
Employers and colleagues respect and value the designation Assoc CIPD after your name, and you’ll carry a mark of professionalism that’s recognised worldwide.


mental health  
Use ‘mental health condition’ not ‘mental ill health’. Or refer to the specific condition such as anxiety or depression.

the Midlands 

the Middle East 

Typically referred to as being born between 1981 to 1996. Although try not to use sweeping stereotypes. Refer to numerical age groups when necessary in research. 

No hyphen. 

mixed race or mixed ethnicity  
Acceptable terms to describe a person who has parentage or ancestors from more than one ethnic and/or racial group.  

more than or over?  
Use ‘more than’ when referring to specific numbers: more than 20% of HR professionals said they had enhanced their wellbeing programme. Use ‘over’ when talking about quantities.  

Or just ‘member’ in running copy: eg a new member of Parliament (UK). 


Mrs, Mrs, Ms  
Do not use when referring to a person, just their full name in the first instance, then surname going forwards. 

multimillion, multicultural  


national curriculum (lower case) 

National Insurance (upper case) 

National Living Wage  
National Living Wage is the top category (for workers aged 23+) of the UK Government’s National Minimum Wage statutory rates. The Living Wage is voluntary and is set by the Living Wage Foundation.  

National Minimum Wage  
The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour almost all workers are entitled to in the UK. 

Use instead of ‘neurodiverse’ when describing a person with cognitive functioning that is different from what is considered ‘normal’. 


newspaper titles  
Should appear in italics with lower-case ‘the’; ‘the’ not italicised except The Times  and  The Economist

new year (lower case)  
But New Year’s Day. 

Used by people who experience their gender identity and/or gender expression as falling outside the binary gender categories of ‘man’ and ‘woman’. Many non-binary people also call themselves ‘transgender’ and consider themselves part of the transgender community. Others do not.    

non-studying affiliate (member) 

non-visible minority ethnic groups  
This includes all white ethnic minority groups (minority ethnic) including from Europe (eg Poland, Ukraine) and Jewish people.  

no one  
Rather than no-one. 

Also northeast, south, west, east. 

Rather than non-profit. 

number ranges
Use 21–22, 214–217 (en dash); dates: 2021–22 (when talking about a range, eg from 2021 to 2022], but 2021/22 (when referring to a financial year, eg in annual reports).

numbered lists  
No full stop after number.

One to nine in words, 10 and upwards as numerals. Larger numbers are written as 2.65m, 5bn. Examples:  

  • I’ve had 11 meetings this week.  
  • We trialled a four-day week. 
  • Our survey showed that three in 10 respondents were struggling to recruit new talent.  
  • More than 240 people have registered for the event. 
  • Four-digit numbers should have a comma, eg 1,000.

When referring to people or animals, spell out million or billion. 


Office for National Statistics (ONS)  
Not Office ‘of’ National Statistics. 



organisation, organise 


on to  
Not onto. 

Words with the prefix ‘over’ do not need hyphenating, eg overestimate, overwhelming. 


When using parentheses, make sure any punctuation (which you may or may not be adding), stays outside the brackets. (But if you add a whole sentence which starts and ends within the brackets, then keep the punctuation inside.) 

parliament, parliamentary
But Houses of Parliament. Initial capital for parliaments referred to by their name in the relevant language, eg Bundestag (Germany), Diet (Japan)

Always hyphenate. 


Not p.c. 

PDF publications
Use footnotes for research reports, policy papers etc. For designed PDFs with 10 or more footnotes overall convert them to endnotes. For design-lite reports, there is no need to apply this rule. Note markers should follow punctuation and use Arabic numerals, never Roman. Don’t use more than one note marker in the same place (eg like this1,2) – instead, combine the references into one note, separated by a semi-colon.

One of the preferred terms for referring to the workforce. See employees for further advice. 

people manager  
Preferred CIPD term for ‘line manager’. But, as ‘line manager’ remains a key search term, 'line manager’ should be used as a synonym within copy, especially on key people manager content.  

people management  
No hyphen, unless essential for clarity. 

People Management (magazine)  
Italicise, as it’s a publication. 

people of colour  
Do not use. Instead use ‘ethnic minority people or ethnic minority groups’. However, it can be used in reference to research which has used the term and in respect of the terms that some people personally identify with.

people professionals  
The preferred umbrella term for different factions of HR. 

per cent, percentage, % 
Use % as standard in running copy and headlines. Only use ‘per cent’ if the sentence starts with a number, eg Fifty per cent of employers…   

performance criteria 


PM Insight  
Research and events produced in collaboration between People Management magazine and key industry partners, delivered by the CIPD’s partner, Haymarket Media Group. 


policy-making, policy-maker 




Public relations. 

Practice is a noun: they went to football practice twice a week. Practise is a verb: he practised his football twice a week. 


press office 

(the) prime minister  
Although, upper case for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. 

prize winner  
But prize-winning (author). 

private sector  
No hyphen unless essential for clarity. 

The people profession: Now and for the future  
The CIPD vision for our evolving profession, complete with practical ways for people professionals to make a greater impact and thrive through change. The Profession Map sits at the core of this work (see below). 

Profession Map  
Write out in full for first mention, and thereafter refer to it as the Map. 

professional assessment 


As in computer program. 

As in TV programme, programme of work. 

Words we use to refer to people’s gender in conversation – for example, ‘he’ or ‘she’. Some people may prefer others to refer to them in gender-neutral language and use pronouns such as ‘they/their’ and ‘ze/zir’. We shouldn't make assumptions about someone's pronouns from their name or appearance. Use the name and pronoun that the person asks you to, and if unsure, ask, or at first use they/them.  

project management  
No hyphen, unless essential for clarity. 

Should be italicised in news stories and running copy, but not in headlines. See report titles.

public sector  
No hyphen unless essential for clarity. 

See abbreviations. 


qualification routes 

Spell out the word ‘quantity’ in running text, but this can be abbreviated in text with many figures where the word ‘quantity’ is constantly repeated, eg 1-50 qty.  

quote marks  
See reported speech.  


race and ethnicity  
‘Race’ is often used to group people based on shared physical traits, particularly skin colour and hair texture, and a shared ancestry or historical experience as a result. 

‘Ethnicity’ is more frequently chosen by the individual and linked to cultural expression. The term is used to describe shared cultural or national identity, such as language, nationality, religious expression and other customs. 

We only refer to people’s race or ethnicity if it’s relevant to the information we are communicating. We recommend using the following: 

  • Broad ethnicity: black, Asian and white (rather than Caucasian), (‘black’ and ‘white’ written in lower case, as per UK Government guidance). 
  • Specific ethnicity: black African, Chinese, Indian, white British. 
  • ‘Minority ethnic group’ or ‘ethnic minorities’ rather than ‘minority group’ 

re-admission, re-admit 

The style for references at the end of CIPD publications or in footnotes is as follows:

  • Journal example – Chiaroni, D., Chiesa, V. and Frattini, F. (2011) The open innovation journey: How firms dynamically implement the emerging innovation management paradigm. Technovation. Vol 31, No 1, pp34–43.
  • News article example – Peacock, L. (2013) Premier Inn to create 500 apprenticeships. Telegraph. 14 March.
  • Book example – Bach, S. and Sisson, K. (eds). (2000) Personnel management: A comprehensive guide to theory and practice. 3rd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Business.

For in-text references, the CIPD uses either Smith et al (2021) or (Smith et al, 2021) depending on how it’s being referenced in the sentence. Examples:

  • According to research by Smith et al (2021), 70% of employees love their job.
  • If 70% of employees reportedly love their job (Smith et al, 2021), then why is employee turnover high?

References in the CIPD’s online reports and guides usually contain a hyperlink to the original research. For example: According to the Living Wage Foundation, 86% of accredited employers said it had improved the reputation of their business.

registered symbol ®  

Use on first reference only. 

Capitalise when referring to a specific piece of legislation, eg The Environmental Information Regulations 2021 were published in May. The Regulations will be implemented to…  

For legislation, include the year in the first instance, eg The Health and Safety Act 2002. If repeatedly referred to, abbreviate to HSA 2022 (add first abbreviation in brackets after spelling out to make it clear). 

‘re’ words  
Only use a hyphen when ‘re’ is followed by an e or u: eg re-use, re-emerge.  Or if the meaning may be ambiguous (eg re-form/reform). Otherwise eg reinstate, rejoin, reprint. 

remote working 


reported speech  
Use double quotes for reported speech and single quotes to highlight any key phrases within the quote, or show a quote within a quote: Examples: 

  • “CIPD membership has opened up doors for me and I’ve managed to get promotions,” said Richard Adams. 
  • Unions prefer ‘single channel’ representation.  
  • Ben said: “When I saw Sarah at the exhibition, she said, ‘This is the best show I’ve ever been to’.” 

The CIPD no longer italicises quotations nor uses single inverted commas for direct quotes.  

report titles  
Use initial capital letter for CIPD report titles, then lower case letters, eg Health and wellbeing at work. Where colon is used, follow with upper case. For example, Zero-hours contracts: Evolution and current status.   

Exceptions are major reports, where all the first letters of each word (apart from small words like ‘and’, ‘of’ etc) are capitalised. This is because they are CIPD brands, eg: Labour Market OutlookCIPD Good Work IndexWorking Lives Scotland.  

Do not call reports ‘surveys’, as these confuse with the actual survey. 

Report titles should be italicised in news stories and running copy, but not in headlines.   

research report  
CIPD publication. 

resit, resitting 

Use CV instead. 


As in a ‘roundtable discussion’. 

Royal Courts of Justice 




Are lower case: spring, summer, autumn, winter. 

selection and assessment centres 

self-employed, self-assessment  
Self- prefix always hyphenated. 

Semi-colons can be used to link related sentences, when a comma is not enough of a pause and a full stop is too much. But please use sparingly. Examples of semi-colon use: 

  • Membership is evolving; renew today to avoid missing out. 
  • I have a big test tomorrow; I can't go out tonight. See also colons

sexual orientation  
An acceptable term to describe a person’s sexual attraction to other people or lack thereof. 

shortlist, shortlisted 


sick pay  
But sickbed (but Statutory Sick Pay). 

Use fit note instead (Statement of Fitness for Work). 

sign up  
No hyphen, unless compound adjective, ‘the sign-up process’. 


Also southeast, east, west, north. 



speech marks  
See reported speech


square brackets  
These may be added when necessary words are missing from direct quotes. Eg “I have known Keir [Starmer] for 10 years.”  

square metres  
Written as 100 sq metres.  

Prefer to use the terms ‘people’, ‘workforce’ and ‘team’. See employees for further advice on how to refer to the workforce. 


Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) 
Can use SSP after first mention in body copy. 


Student Member/Membership 



survey report  
CIPD publication. 

swear words  
Please remove any bad language in general from direct quotes. 



take-home pay  



One of the preferred terms for referring to the workforce. See employees for further advice. 

teamwork, teamworking 



The Times  
Newspaper. Italicise, as with all publications. 

think tank 

time of day  
Use the 24-hour clock with a colon separating hours and minutes. The conference begins at 10:30. Coffee breaks are at 14:00–14:15. 




trademark symbol ™  
Use on first reference only. 


Use: ‘transgender person or people’ or simply ‘trans man’ or ‘trans woman’, unless you are otherwise directed by a person’s individual preference. Do not use ‘transsexual’. 

Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations. 




UK/Great Britain 
See Great Britain/UK.  

Prefix is usually not hyphenated: underachieve, underwater etc. 

No hyphen. 

unskilled workers  
Instead use low-skilled workers. 

Universal resource locator – web address. 

See web addresses


Use versus in body copy; v (abbreviated or in tables). 

vice president  
Lower case for both job titles and generic use. Political job titles have initial caps only when the title is next to the name eg ‘Vice President Kamala Harris’, otherwise, it’s ‘Kamala Harris became vice president in 2021. 

videoconference, videoconferencing 

video game  
Use rather than computer game. 


waterproof, watermark etc 

the web 





web addresses 

  • Don’t put a colon at the start or any punctuation at the end. 
  • In print, don’t include ‘http://www.’ unless essential for clarity.
  • Online, don’t write out a URL, but add a hyperlink to descriptive text. Example: Catch up with the CIPD’s 'latest news' add the link on the words ‘latest news’). 
  • References and sources should be included in running copy where possible (either by embedding URLs or referencing the source explicitly in the text). Example: A 2022 report by the ONS found…
  • In print publications, you may need to spell out links when referenced, or add a list of contacts, sources or references at the end of the report.

wheelchair user  
Preferred term. Do not use ‘confined to a wheelchair’ or ‘wheelchair bound’. 

whistleblower, whistleblowing  
No hyphen. 

No hyphen. 

Also the west, western, east, north, south. 

Lower case ‘w’ in a race context. 

white advantage  
Not white privilege, unless it appears in reported speech. 

white paper  
Also green paper. 


woman, women  
Use female instead when describing someone eg Jenny Shipley was New Zealand's first female prime minister.  

We should only use the term ‘workers’ or ‘employees’ when we really mean employees/workers according to legal definitions. ‘Staff’ is another commonly used term, but it can create a ‘them and us’ feeling, so should be used with caution. The terms ‘people’, ‘workforce’ and ‘team’ are preferred terms.  


A preferred term for referring to people in an organisation. See employees for further advice on how to refer to your workforce. 


work-life balance  
Use a hyphen - we used to use a longer em dash.  





zero-hours contracts