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It’s a complicated world for business out there with technology changing at a breakneck pace, markets roiling and politics anything but predictable. In such a difficult environment, you might think that brains would beat all other considerations when it comes to appealing to employers. But a new survey suggests that’s just not the case.To find out what qualities and skills employers are emphasising in the current crazy job market, CareerBuilder polled 2,662 private sector U.S. hiring managers about their priorities. Rather than finding high demand for big brains, the survey uncovered surprisingly strong evidence that at the moment EQ trumps IQ for job seekers. The statistics clearly show emotional intelligence (EI) is highly valued:
- 34 per cent of hiring managers are placing greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring and promoting employees post-recession
- 71 per cent value emotional intelligence in an employee more than IQ
- 59 per cent of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EI
- For workers being considered for a promotion, the high EI candidate will beat out the high IQ candidate i75 per cent of the time
So what exactly why did the hiring managers feel emotional intelligence is so important? Those with high EI excelled at staying calm under pressure, resolving conflict effectively, behaving with empathy and leading by example, according to respondents.
CareerBuilder suggests a couple of possible explanations for the findings. First, volatility and economic gloom are putting pressure on businesses and threatening jobs, leading to stressful times at many offices. With anxiety on the increase, the ability to handle the pressure and maintain a mature and sensible working environment is more valuable than ever.
Also, CareerBuilder notes, with unemployment so high, employers can afford to be choosy, demanding not only brute brain power but also the ability to work productively and pleasantly with others. “The competitive job market allows employers to look more closely at the intangible qualities that pay dividends down the road — like skilled communicators and perceptive team players,” commented Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.