Accenture, a global management consulting company for technology services and outsourcing performed a recent survey that showed, “only 14 percent of companies indicated that their workforce is extremely well prepared to adapt to and manage change through periods of economic uncertainty.” The Accenture High Performance Workforce Study is a research project that explores trends, issues, and developments in human capital management at large companies around the world.

In a press-released statement, published by Accenture on July 19, 2010, The Accenture High Performance Workforce Study found that among all U.S. companies surveyed, only 13 percent of executives said that they plan to reduce their employee base over the next 12 months.

As companies plan to focus on growth, areas of concern included the lack of high-quality skills available. Of the 15 percent of Executives surveyed, the overall skill level of their workforce was considered industry leading only.

“A lack of relevant skills may present a hurdle for companies as they position themselves for growth,” said Smith. “Companies need to rethink how they equip employees with the skills required to be competitive today. They must also consider new strategies for hiring and developing untapped talent currently available in the market.”

Also stated,

“As they emerge from the recession, organizations can’t afford to have employees with outdated skills on their front lines,” said Smith. “There’s a big opportunity for companies to outperform their competitors by elevating the skill levels of their employees.”

In a society where businesses are focusing on rebuilding their workforces, success for the average career is rapidly changing and placing higher demands on learning new and innovative skills that rank as cutting-edge and catapult greater advantages beyond competitors.

What is cutting-edge?

Cutting edge as defined on Princeton University’s WordNet website, “Cutting edge is the position of greatest importance or advancement; the leading position in any movement or field.”

Career Builder’s online article Bureau of Labor Statistics, technology is just one of the few factors in determining what’s going to be the next great gig out there. Demographic shifts, legislative changes, business trends and consumer behavior also factor into what’s going to be the next big thing and what’s going to be history.”

Recommendations to stay ranked among the cutting-edge of professionals include:

Be open to change: As companies are restructuring for growth and re-purposing strategic initiatives, employees will face increased amounts of unpredictable work and responsibilities that include new and various disciplines that are unknown.

Be willing and teachable: Employers value employees that are willing to tackle the tough items or take on new challenges. Therefore, it is important to be willing to face what is new and

Be willing to learn what is unknown: Learn new skills, techniques, and get certified (where applicable). Prometric website to learn more about certification options.

Document and highlight qualities that demonstrate intangible abilities: List accomplishments, list at least three skills sets that may be relevant, track praises and special projects. Have an uncanny knack for solving complicated problems, smoothing the waters with hot clients, or remarkable ability to get things sold, it is to your advantage to make these attributes known.

Consider Careers that can cross multiple industry platforms: There are many positions that cross multiple industry platforms, just to name a few sales, web development, administration, or even marketing. Avoid limiting skills to one industry or sector. For example, many professionals in the marketing industry have gained working experienced in both the retail and real estate industries.

Learn tools such as analytics, reporting, and performance monitoring: In business, it a numbers game and is essentially all about the numbers. Companies love it when they are able to obtain the bottom line in easy to understand numbers. Expand your skill set by learning how to gather the details and document the numbers. Free training resources are available like Microsoft Training.

Pursue Personal and Professional Development: No one will ever know everything about anything. There is always something new to learn regardless of existing knowledge; it is to everyone’s advantage to learn new things. Personal growth and development are the results. For example, self-development includes improving areas such as public speaking, grammar and spelling, or even learning a new language. The opportunity list is unlimited.

Research subjects, categories, and industries considered within the latest trends: Whatever your industry or career path, it is important to network, research, and stay on top of trends. There are many resources available online that specialize in trend watching such as Marzar.

Stay informed, read the news specific to industry, business, and careers: There are many resources online that industries specific news, information, and advice such as MSN.

Take ownership and responsibility: As much as we as a society would like to believe our employers, managers, and supervisors are the direct influencers of how fast or slow our careers are growing, succeeding, or not succeeding. Truth is, they are not. No one else is responsible for your career or its success. Choices are the key and the influential factors that will make or break a plan.