Study: Emotional Intelligence More Important Than IQ

While intelligence quotient may matter when it comes to one’s work performance, emotional intelligence (EQ) has proven a key factor to career success. However, soft skills such as good communication and listening skills are often overlooked when it comes to employee training. A recent study by Preply demonstrates the importance of EQ. A key stat from the study: 73% of respondents say EQ matters more than IQ. Read on for more interesting findings about EQ in the workplace.

Emotionally Intelligent Communication and Phrases

63% of workers surveyed say digital communication has made it harder to be emotionally intelligent. Only 34% of employees say they encounter emotionally intelligent communication at work daily. Some of the most meaningful emotionally intelligent work phrases include “I appreciate you/your work”, “What can I do to help?”, “I hear you/I’m listening, and “What are your thoughts?”.

Important Attributes of EQ

Great listening skills, empathy/concern for others and accepting responsibility for mistakes are important attributes of emotional intelligence. Other important work-related EQ attributes include managing difficult emotions, embracing change, self-confidence and letting go of mistakes. These attributes are especially crucial for those in leadership roles.

Generational Differences

According to the survey, Millennials are considered the most emotionally intelligent by other generations. Boomers came in last, with only 7% of Millennials calling them the most emotionally intelligent age group. When evaluating themselves, the majority (91%) of workers think they are emotionally intelligent.

Employers Don’t Offer Enough EQ Training

Although EQ plays a vital role in the workplace, only 1 in 10 respondents say their employer offers training on emotionally intelligent communication. 53% say they wish their company offered training in this area. The top five industries in need of emotional intelligence training are hospitality and tourism, health science, finance, information technology and human services. Survey participants reported that about half of their bosses lacked emotional intelligence.

The Most and Least Emotionally Intelligent Industries

The overall average for emotionally intelligent bosses is 34%, but it varies by industry. Business administration had the highest percentage of emotionally intelligent industries (42.1%). Health science was a close second at 41.9%. Education and training (39.5%) and human services (38.6%) came third and fourth. Transportation and logistics, an industry not typically associated with emotional intelligence, rounded out the top five with 37.5%.

Despite the focus on customer experience, hospitality and tourism came in last place, with only 19.5% of leadership displaying emotional intelligence. Other industries at the bottom were information technology (27.6%), agriculture, food and natural resources (28.6%), and government and public administration (29%).


On December 14, 2022, 1,006 Americans were surveyed about emotional intelligence in the workplace. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 76 years old, and were 49% female, 50% male and 1% non-binary. See the full report here: