IT staff need to score high in EQ, if they don’t want to be replaced by AI : Study

The threat of a machine takeover is no longer science-fiction, and IT staff now need to try harder to stay relevant.

With the booming growth of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), employees and specialists in IT need to differentiate themselves from such technological advancements by scoring high in soft skills – like emotional intelligence (EQ).

According to a recent study by recruitment and employment agency Robert Half, 100% of the surveyed Singaporean chief information officers (CIOs) believe that it is important for their IT staff to score high in EQ.

The research project surveyed 75 CIOs in Singapore.

In a statement, Mr Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director of Robert Half Singapore said: “As the technology sector and machine learning continue to accelerate and impact the workplace, it’s now more important than ever for IT professionals to demonstrate high emotional intelligence”.

And the pressure on IT staff to improve on their soft skills is about to be turned up.

The study found that one in four (25%) CIOs believe that the level of emphasis put on EQ during the hiring process is “too little”, highlighting that more might need to be done to recruit the ideal employee.

And only 12% of them believe that there’s  “too much” emphasis put on EQ.

Almost two in three (63%) believe that sufficient attention is being given to to sourcing candidates with the right level of EQ.

The benefits of having employees with high EQ levels are plentiful, and they include having improved leadership (59%), better project management (55%), better collaboration (48%) and an increased morale (40%).

Mr Imbert-Bouchard said: “IT employees who demonstrate high levels of emotional intelligence are able to effectively communicate with their co-workers, and are generally better at managing stress and making difficult decisions under pressure”.

“This not only cultivates a more cohesive and innovative workplace, it also generates confidence throughout the IT department, which can make the difference between success or failure in times of crisis and uncertainty for any business.”