One in four (25 per cent) UK business leaders say that emotional intelligence (EQ) is undervalued in the hiring process, according to research by recruitment specialist Robert Half UK. This is in spite of the majority of businesses (60 per cent) reporting it as a very important skill for their employees.
The findings reinforce a the World Economic Forum report, which predicts that emotional intelligence will become one of the top ten skills for employees by 2020. With planning for industry 4.0 becoming a priority, businesses are looking to develop a future-proof workforce. As a result, business leaders are increasingly looking for employees who have more than just technical skills. They are placing greater emphasis on those with the soft skills to cope with the rapidly changing corporate environment.
The study also identified the benefits of hiring employees with high emotional intelligence. Business leaders cited increased motivation and morale (46 per cent), improved leadership (45 per cent) and better collaboration between teams (37 per cent) as the primary benefits. Indeed, only 4 per cent of UK businesses say that a high EQ offers no additional benefits to the business at all.
Despite these advantages, managers still believe there is too little importance attached to emotional intelligence during the hiring process. Over half of managers claim that minimal importance is placed on EQ during the hiring process – with 54 per cent saying they place ‘just enough’ importance on EQ but more could be done.
“Identifying skills gaps and securing the right talent is crucial for long-term success in today’s competitive recruitment environment. Businesses must prioritise the skills and qualities they expect from potential candidates,” highlights Matt Weston, UK managing director at Robert Half. “In the current war for talent, employers must find the right balance between skills and personality – evaluating what characteristics are required within the team and what skills can be taught.
“The workplace of future values their fit within an organisation and are more inclined to evaluate the company culture, working environment and employer brand,” he adds. “It has therefore become hugely important that business leaders are aware and mindful of employees’ needs and desires. This will effectively expand their candidate pool and to help to identify, secure and retain top talent, long-term.”