Employers want EQ rather than IQ: Research

New research has found that most Australian employers believe graduates who go on to become managers, will get there because of their emotional intelligence rather than their technical skills.

The survey of more than 500 graduate employers from across the service industries, conducted for the International College of Management Sydney (ICMS), revealed that 56% felt the skill set required by managers had become more focused on 'people skills over technical skills' over the last decade. Fifty-six per cent also said that managers now needed to have a greater focus on 'leadership and performance management skills', and half of all employers said there is now a greater focus on 'open communication'.

Commenting on the survey findings, Fiona Cole, HR director at Yahoo!7, said: "We believe emotional intelligence (EQ) for jobs in management is essential. We look for both technical and EQ skills and it remains challenging to get a strong combination of both. I think working on EQ as a development area at a graduate level provides more opportunity to nurture that skill when the mind is still developing and experiences are still fresh, enabling the employer to better mould the graduate in to one who has strong and rounded leadership skills."

The research found there is a clear gap between what employers need and what they can find, when hiring graduates to be groomed for the management roles of the future.

Sixty-two per cent of employers said that in the last 10 years it has become harder to find good candidates. Of those surveyed, the largest number ranked 'communication skills' as the quality most in demand when hiring graduates, yet almost 40% said that they found it difficult to find graduates with 'emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills'. Fifty-seven per cent believe that 'attitude and enthusiasm' have become a more important requirement for graduates in the last decade.

"These findings have real implications for both graduates and employers" said Frank Prestipino, MD of ICMS. "They have revealed disconnects between the type of graduates educational institutions are producing and the kind of personnel organisations need, particularly at a management level.

"It's the graduates who can demonstrate their emotional intelligence and superior people skills, that will be most in demand once they head out into the workforce. Institutions have a responsibility to both their students and to employers, to respond to changing workplace demands. They must develop programs that produce not just technically ready, but emotionally ready graduates. Concentrating not only on the technical competencies but also on building more rounded, interpersonal skills will be integral to providing a high quality education."


Emotions Drive People. People Drive Performance.