The people profession includes a broad spectrum of opportunities. We’ve outlined the specialist disciplines across HR, L&D, OD&D and beyond. If you work in one of these areas, or want to deepen your expertise for your own development, this is where you can explore career paths and plot your progress through your chosen areas of expertise.

The people profession is a broad and international community within which there are many specialisms. Together, this range of specialisms can help to shape successful organisations."

Yetunde Hofmann, Leadership consultant and CIPD Board member

The specialist knowledge areas

No matter what level you’re at, or what role you fulfil, the specialist knowledge areas show you how to apply your expertise to make a positive impact. For example, if you are an L&D consultant, you're likely to select the L&D specialism. If your role also supports the development of talent, you may also need to use some of the Talent Management specialist knowledge standards.

Employee experience

Creating a holistic approach around engagement which enables workers to have a voice and be their best.

Profession Map

Employee relations

Ensuring the relationship between an organisation and its people is managed through transparent practices and relevant law.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Creating inclusive cultures where individuals can thrive.

Learning and development

Ensuring workers have the knowledge, skills and experience to fulfil individual and organisational needs and ambitions.

Organisation development and design

Designing organisation models and systems, and developing behaviour and culture, to enable organisation strategy and performance.

People analytics

Using analytics to inform organisation decision-making.


Identifying, attracting and recruiting to get the right people for the organisation.


Creating remuneration and benefits approaches which are aligned to current and future organisation needs and market conditions.

Talent management

Maximising potential through talent identification, engagement and planning.


Creating a holistic approach that improves workplace wellbeing.

The Profession Map

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The Profession Map

Make the most of the Profession Map

The Profession Map is for everyone in our profession – individuals and teams, members and non-members. Learn more about the Profession Map and how you can use it. 

Explore the Profession Map

Explore the purpose, values, knowledge and behaviours at the heart of our profession

The Profession Map

How the international standard works for all people professionals

Find your level with the Profession Map

Find your current level of knowledge and experience and the next step in your career

The Profession Map FAQs

Check out our FAQs on the Profession Map, membership, and qualifications

The Profession Map overview