A new study which has just been published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour has revealed that the key to a higher salary is being emotionally intelligent.

A new study which has just been published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour has revealed that the key to a higher salary is being emotionally intelligent.

Researchers tested university students in the US for emotional intelligence and then followed their career over the course of 10 years. The results found that those who had high emotional intelligence scores went on to have better salaries than their less emotionally intelligent peers, regardless of the industry they worked in.

Why do people with better emotional intelligence earn more?

People with high emotional intelligence are much better at understanding people’s emotions – a trait which is highly valued in the workplace, especially among leaders. As well as allowing you to be more empathetic, being able to understand people allows you to accurately motivate and influence other people’s behaviours.

What really set those who scored highly for emotional intelligence apart from their peers, was that they were found to use their skills to become deeply embedded in the company’s social network. With the ability to build strong friendships with their colleagues, emotionally intelligent people gain access to more information, which naturally improves performance and ultimately, leads to a higher wage.

It was also found that people with high emotional intelligence and more open to accepting feedback and learning from their mistakes. Those with poor emotional intelligence however, were less willing to accept criticism and self-improve – something which is likely to stop them climbing the career ladder.

People with high emotional intelligence appear to have a never-ending list of qualities that make them fantastic employees. The study also found them to benefit from possessing the following qualities:

  • The ability to perceive, understand and manage their emotions. This is incredibly helpful when it comes to dealing with complex interpersonal situations at work. 
  • The ability to inspire, persuade and build a good rapport with others.

Can you improve your emotional intelligence?

If people with better social skills tend to out-earn their colleagues, what can you do to build your emotional IQ?

  • Reflect on your emotions – think about how you usually respond to criticism, stressful situations or being placed under pressure. By identifying your reactions, you become more mindful and can start to build control. 
  • Ask others for perspective – this one can be difficult to digest but it’s important to know how other people see you. 
  • Observe people with high emotional intelligence – make a note of how they react to situations and interact with people. Learn from their behaviours and put it into practice. The more you do this, the more natural it will become. 
  • Take a minute to reflect. If you’re very reactionary, chances are you often say or do things you regret. If you’ve received an email that has upset you or a colleague has asked you to do something you don’t want to do, take a moment to stop and think before you act or speak. 
  • Last but not least, seek out coaching and development opportunities if you’re really serious about improving your emotional intelligence. This will help you to integrate into your company’s social network, develop your social skills and teach you the necessary skills for making behavioural changes.