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The biggest predictor of career success? Not skills or education — but emotional intelligence

January 3, 2014

Financial Post | Business

What determines the probable future career success of individuals? Is it intelligence, technical knowledge and skills, their socio-economic background or educational success? Are the forces that make success the same for Generations X and Y as they are for the Baby Boomers? These questions have been researched extensively by recruiters, talent management experts and human behaviour researchers in the past decade. The answers now point to emotional competencies.

First, it’s important to note that a distinct North American and particularly American myth has been perpetuated that colours our perspective on career success: The “self-made man” or “anyone can make it to the top” myth. While it may have been true in the last century and the early part of this one, evidence doesn’t support its veracity now.

Researchers for the past century have investigated the determinants of career success. While intelligence has been the most consistent factor in determining job…

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