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Some 56% of UK HR directors believe that work ethic is the single most important attribute for employees to display when going for promotion, with nearly half of those questioned saying that demonstrating leadership was the second most sought after quality, according to new research from recruitment specialists Robert Half UK.
Ambition wasn’t the top choice for HR directors, with just over one in three choosing this trait after work ethic and leadership skills. In terms of gender, male HR directors felt stronger about work ethic (61%) than their female counterparts (51%). However, more than four in 10 (43%) female HR directors believe communication skills are important for gaining promotion, compared to only 38% of males.
Looking at the least valuable trait that employees should recognise when pushing for promotion, only 10% of HR directors felt that internal networks were essential and 13% rated a sense of humour as important in deciding whether an employee deserved to move up the ladder.
Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said “Technical skills are always considered important by an organisation. However, in today’s economic environment candidates need to demonstrate their value to the company, with soft skills becoming a more critical differentiator between employees.
“Departments are increasingly being asked to do more with less, requiring individuals to take on more tasks. Work ethic has become critical for individuals to demonstrate that they are committed to the company’s overall success and are able to demonstrate a flexible attitude while being accommodating to change.”
“Employees holding strong technical skills are no longer viewed as a driving factor for promotion, with only 9% of HR directors citing this as an important trait to have. The ability to communicate, negotiate and offer personal effectiveness is considered more important than some of the more technical occupational skills, which many employers believe can be ‘learned on the job.”