Building career capital is the key to success in the current business environment, according to today’s business leaders. In fact, in Accenture’s 2014 Career Capital global survey of more than 4,000 male and female executives, 89% of the respondents echo this belief. Not only that, 84% of these leaders are actively working to increase their own career capital.

What career capital is and why it matters

In the broadest terms, career capital can be described as a set of differentiated skills that define and advance an employee’s career. According to the survey results, most employees tend to agree, but take this description a step further. Two out of three respondents think the most important component in creating their own career capital is the development of knowledge or competence in a particular area.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents believe building career capital opens up opportunities for growth. In fact, the study reveals women believe this is the most important advantage building career capital offers. Fifty-six percent of respondents believe career capital increases their ability to influence decisions (which men consider to be the most important advantage). Gaining credibility with peers and reaching goals are also viewed by both sexes as valuable benefits.

Building career capital is a complex blend of acquiring specialised knowledge and expertise, increasing your level of influence, building a respected reputation, and establishing relationships that add value to both the business and yourself. All of these capabilities provide a path to higher levels of leadership. Strong leadership is the backbone of any successful organisation.

Increasing the number of women leaders

The study also highlights some interesting predictions regarding women in leadership. Almost three quarters of respondents expect female board membership and the number of female CEOs to increase by 2020, with 15% believing the increase in the number of female CEOs in the future will be significant. Forty-four percent of participants state their companies are preparing more women for leadership positions than they did in the previous year. Thus, building career capital among female employees becomes even more important as organisations strive for gender parity in the workplace and beyond.

These results have implications for both employees and the companies they work for. In my next post, I’ll share what employees, and women in particular, believe they are bringing to their organisations and what they view as the best approaches to building their own career capital.

To learn more about building career capital, please see:

Career Capital: 2014 Global Research Results (Accenture)

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