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Emotional intelligence and ‘future skills’ critical for job seekers, says Egyptian minister

LONDON: Companies in the future are going to be less likely to hire individuals based on their educational qualifications, but more on their emotional intelligence, according to Egypt’s minister of higher education and scientific research.

Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar told Arab News “(if) you work on (building) your ‘skills of the future,’ you can have great emotional intelligence that will take you to more productivity, leadership, management, and certainly more success.”

Abdel Ghaffar, who is also Egypt’s acting minister of health and population, was speaking on the sidelines of a visit to London to shore up investment opportunities in education and health care.

“You can be super intelligent because your IQ is 120 and over, but it does not mean that you will be successful,” Abdel Ghaffar said.

“A lot of people with extremely high IQ do not perform good when it comes to jobs and when it comes to productivity, and on the other hand (you have) people with average IQ but they managed to work on themselves to improve their skills, and upskill and reskill themselves.”

The minister stressed that education will remain important in the future, but interviewers and employers will be looking for people who have “improved their soft skills” as well as their “hard skills,” including communication, critical and analytical thinking, reasoning, problem solving, and team operating.

He said even those who are employed should not rely on the fact they currently have a job and are doing well, and should be encouraged to take training courses to gain or develop their future skills in these areas.

“Companies in the future will hire somebody not because he graduated from Oxford or Cambridge — (though) certainly this is important — but they will focus more on your skills and your professionalism, and how you improve your work, and part of it depends on the different types of intelligence,” he told Arab News.

A 2019 report by the Chicago-based Institute for Health and Human Potential — a training organization specialized in emotional intelligence — said the future workplace is changing to make these soft skills essential from 2020, as AI and automation take over routine mental and physical tasks.

“Emotional intelligence is becoming the key differentiator in achieving excellence in individual engagement, product innovation and customer experiences,” the report added.

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