Emotional skills gap emerges in UK

An emotional intelligence skills gap is emerging in the UK, as there seems to be a clear distinction between the skills employers want and those job seekers are displaying when it comes to emotional intelligence.

This is according to Michael Page, a global recruitment specialist, who found that 50 per cent of employers value emotional intelligence over work experience (45 per cent) or holding a degree (22 per cent).

Emotional intelligence is defined as being able to be aware of one’s own emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships with empathy; something which is predicted to be vital in an ever-evolving work environment being shaped by technology.

Less than 1 per cent of candidates have an emotional intelligence trait on their CV such as “listening” or “empathy”.

Four out of the top five skills employers are looking for, relate to emotional intelligence, they are:

  • Effective communications
  • Adaptability
  • Listening
  • Self-awareness
  • Time management


It has also been found that job adverts do not seem to reflect what employers desire as 2019 only saw 0,4 per cent of job adverts with the word “empathy” 2 per cent mentioning “listening”.

Nick Kirk, managing director at Michael Page, said:

We are in the midst of a technological revolution in the UK jobs market, with AI and technology becoming more prevalent across multiple sectors and industries. The rise of automation in the workforce can be cause for anxiety amongst workers but it shouldn’t be. Our capacity for emotional intelligence is one of the most effective ways humans have the edge over our technological counterparts. What is worrying is that candidates aren’t highlighting these skills to potential employers, despite clear demand for them. I’d urge job seekers to evaluate their skill set and ensure they are highlighting the right ones, to ensure we’re not facing an emotional intelligence skills shortage in the UK.

In order to obtain these results, Michael Page surveyed 2,003 UK people with 550 of those stating they are involved in the recruitment process.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.