Career Capital a Key to Success for Female Professionals

Career capital is the currency of professional advancement and success, according to new research by Accenture, as the consulting firm supports International Women's Day.

In the study, more than 89 percent of female professionals believe building their “career capital” (those differentiated skills that define and advance their careers) is key to success in the workplace. A similar number of men surveyed also responded the same. Based on a survey of 4,100 male and female professionals in 32 countries, the research also showed that these professionals are accepting of change and have confidence in their ability to succeed in the workplace.

Other results showed that 84 percent of professional women and men surveyed are working to increase their career capital in an effort to enjoy greater opportunities for growth, have the ability to influence decisions at work, increase their credibility among colleagues and peers and reach their goals (cited by 57 percent, 56 percent, 53 percent and 51 percent, respectively). Two out of three (67 percent) believe knowledge or competency in a particular area contributes the most to career capital.
The vast majority of professionals surveyed (91 percent) agree that the most successful employees will be those who can adapt to the changing workplace, and nearly as many (89 percent) report that they thrive on or don’t mind change. At the same time, three out of four respondents (75 percent) say they are equipped to succeed in the future. 
“The focus on developing career capital helps engage and energize employees who will maintain a competitive advantage as they grow and reach their goals,” said Adrian Lajtha, Accenture's chief leadership officer. “In this rapidly evolving business environment, leading companies will continue to sharpen and develop their peoples’ skills through innovative training and leadership development programs that prepare them for the future.”
Respondents made a number of predictions about women in the workforce, including:

  • Women on boards:  Nearly three-quarters of respondents (71 percent) think the number of women on boards will increase by 2020
  • Women at the top:  Seven in 10 (70 percent) say the number of women CEOs will increase by 2020; 15 percent believe the increase will be significant.
  • Women in senior management:  Nearly half (44 percent) say their companies are preparing more women for senior management roles than they did last year

“This noteworthy optimism about the progression of women in the workplace is significant for both employers and employees,” said Nellie Borrero, Managing Director, Global Inclusion & Diversity at Accenture. “Attracting, advancing and retaining women depends on providing an environment and culture that develops leaders, empowers women and enables them to thrive.”   
The research also generated insights on a broad range of work-related topics, including:

  • Pay Raises and Promotions: More than half (57 percent) of all respondents have asked for or negotiated a pay raise, and three out of four (77 percent) who have done so have received one. Slightly less than half (44 percent) have asked for a promotion, and more than two-thirds (68 percent) who have done so received one.
  • Working Parents: More than four in ten working parents (44 percent, men; 42 percent, women) would prefer to work, rather than stay at home, even if finances were not an issue.
  • The Value of Experience: Nearly three out of four (72 percent) respondents report that experience is more important than education in their current jobs.
  • Current Skills:  The top three contributions that respondents believe they bring to their jobs are efficiency in completing tasks, a strong work ethic and the ability to learn new things (56 percent, 50 percent and 44 percent, respectively).
  • Future Skills:  Looking ahead, respondents believe the most marketable skills will be the ability to multi-task, speak more than one language, be a team player and navigate most computer applications (cited by 57 percent, 54 percent, 54 percent and 53 percent, respectively).
  • Satisfaction with Current Job: Approximately half (48 percent) of respondents report they are satisfied in their current jobs. Of those not satisfied, feeling underpaid was the primary reason for dissatisfaction (cited by 37 percent), followed by lack of opportunity for advancement (25 percent).