The CIPD has been championing better work and working lives for over 100 years, starting life in 1913 as the Welfare Workers’ Association (WWA). We’ve been helping people and organisations realise their potential ever since. We first became the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in 2000, when we were granted our Royal Charter. Today we're known simply as the CIPD, the professional body leading and supporting the people profession.

Our evolution to today’s CIPD

Improving conditions for female factory workers

In 1913 we began life as the Welfare Workers’ Association (WWA) with just 34 members. The first meeting took place in York, in the North of England, chaired by well-known industrialist Seebohm Rowntree. Representatives from Boots, Cadbury and Chivers attended.

Welfare workers were concerned with the working conditions of female employees in the UK's factories, so it's unsurprising that 29 of the founding members were women. In 1916, it became compulsory for welfare workers to be appointed in all establishments controlled by the Ministry of Munitions. By the end of World War 1, around 1,000 welfare workers had been appointed throughout the UK, 600 of whom were members of the WWA.

From 1917-1924 the association went through five changes of name. Against a background of wartime growth in the employment of welfare officers, local welfare worker associations had emerged across the country with no connection to the WWA. Concerned at the splintering of the welfare movement, the WWA adopted a new constitution with a branch structure that incorporated the local associations and renamed itself the Central Association of Welfare Workers (CAWW) in 1917. In 1919 the association opened its first office in London, and by 1924 the name had changed to the Institute of Industrial Welfare Workers (IIWW). 

Changing needs; changing names

The 1920s saw the start of a labour management movement, driven by the introduction of labour officers during World War 1. More and more employers began appointing labour officers, mostly men, to support recruitment, discipline, dismissal and industrial relations among unionised male workers. Labour officers and managers had little sympathy with the IIWW's exclusive focus on welfare, and very few joined it.

By the late 1920s, members of the labour management movement had become a loosely connected group with a desire to form their own professional association. As a result, in 1931 the IIWW changed its name again to the Institute of Labour Management (ILM) reflecting the changing nature of the function. Its journal Welfare Work became Labour Management. In 1937, the ILM formed a branch in Dublin and by 1939, the ILM had a total of 800 members across the UK and Ireland, 60% of whom were female. 

Uniting personnel, training and development

In 1946, the ILM changed its name to the Institute of Personnel Management (IPM), to reflect its members’ increased focus on industrial relations and industrial training. In 1955, the IPM moved towards adding membership requirements via examination. It also introduced an education scheme which could be run externally by colleges in preparation for the national exam. This helped to pave the way for an expansion in the number of colleges offering courses in personnel management in the years ahead.

In 1994, the Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD) was formed through the merger of the Institute of Personnel Management with the Institute of Training and Development. Having united personnel, training and development within a single institute, the IPD set about securing chartered status – a long-standing aspiration of the former IPM.

Chartered status was granted in 2000 and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) came into existence from 1 July of that year. On 1 October 2003, we awarded chartered status to over 37,000 full members, fellows and companions.

In 2009, we launched a set of standards created by the profession for the profession. These set the benchmark for successful and effective human resource (HR) and learning and development (L&D) professionals.

In 2018, we introduced our Profession Map which sets the international standard for all people professionals – including HR, L&D and organisation design and development professionals. Focused on values-based decision-making and linked to the overarching purpose of the people profession, it is designed to anticipate new priorities and evolve, keeping people professionals future-fit as they lead change and shape the future of work.

How we became known as the CIPD

In 2013, we announced a renewed focus on our core purpose and defined this as 'championing better work and working lives'.

In the following years, customer research told us that such a broad and ambitious purpose called for a stronger brand identity that encourages debate and dialogue across the people profession and the wider world of work. We discovered an appetite for a change of name to better reflect the work that today’s CIPD members do. But the same research also revealed that although the word personnel is outdated, the CIPD acronym is well recognised and still carries a great deal of kudos. 

We are now known simply as the CIPD – the professional body leading and supporting the people profession.

Developing a global profession through partnership

In 1962, the IPM, together with sister associations in France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, founded the European Association of People Management (EAPM). To further develop and improve professional people management all over the world, in 1976 the IPM Director General, Geoff Armstrong, led the EAPM to establish the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA) with the Interamerican Federation of Personnel Administration (now FIDAGH) and the American Society for Personnel Administration (now SHRM). Through its five continental associations, the WFPMA covers over 90 people management associations across the globe. 

Then, as now, the CIPD envisioned the management of the workforce as a skilled and serious profession, central to the pursuit of safe and well-managed workplaces in modern organisations. In championing better work and working lives, the CIPD continues to work closely with our sister organisations, sharing research and good practice that reflect the experience of people professionals across a wide range of geographies.

Growing our international community

Our members live and work in all corners of the world. Increasing numbers have international interests and responsibilities, regardless of where they’re based. 

In 1981, the IPM established its headquarters in Wimbledon, South West London and, in 1984, opened an office in Dublin to serve the growing number of members in Ireland.

More recently, we’ve seen strong growth in membership in Asia and the Middle East, where we opened dedicated offices in 2011 and 2016 respectively. We now have more than 12,000 members outside the UK and Ireland.

Members elsewhere in the world benefit from our international reach and relevance in many ways. Our standards for the profession are internationally recognised. And by expanding and enhancing our digital offering, we're increasing the opportunities for people professionals all around the world to join our community. 

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