An Accenture survey released as part of our 2014 celebration of International Women’s Day found that more than 89 percent of female professionals around the globe (and a similar number of male respondents) believe building their “career capital”—those differentiated skills that define and advance their careers—is key to success in the workplace. Furthermore, professionals welcome change and are confident of their ability to succeed in the workplace.
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Surveying 4,100 business professionals in 32 countries, the research sought to:
Understand career capital—what are the contributing factors, how do professionals define and work to increase it?
Predict workplace attributes and the role of women in leadership in the future.
Explore career satisfaction and the perceived value of experience and education in the workplace.
Eighty-four percent of women and men surveyed say they:
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.
Nearly as many (89 percent) report that they thrive on or don’t mind change.
Three out of four respondents (75 percent) say they are equipped to succeed in the future.
Predictions for women in the workforce:
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: Seventy percent say the number of women chief executive officers 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.
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.
strong>Working Parents: More than 40 percent of working parents (44 percent of men; 42 percent of women) would prefer to work than stay at home, if they could afford it.
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 when 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 multitask, 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).
Developing career capital helps engage and energize employees, who will maintain a competitive advantage as they grow and reach their goals. In this rapidly evolving business environment, leading companies will continue to sharpen and develop their people skills through innovative training and leadership development programs that prepare them for the future.
This noteworthy optimism about the progression of women in the workplace is significant for both employers and employees. Attracting, advancing and retaining women depends on providing an environment and culture that develops leaders, empowers women and enables them to thrive.