Leadership skills rated more highly by City than qualifications

May 23 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Getting ahead in the cut-throat world of financial services requires excellent communication skills, attention to detail and leadership, but professional qualifications are considered less important, a survey by a British recruitment consultancy has found.

A poll of more than 300 financial services staff by Badenoch & Clark found those were the top three qualities required to progress a career in the City.

Excellent communication was considered the number one factor by 34 per cent of those polled, with more than half placing it first or second out of the eleven qualities they could choose from.

A total of 47 per cent ranked attention to detail in either first, second or third place, with leadership scoring 45 per cent.

Technical competence was put in the top three spots by 39 per cent of those polled.

The least important qualities were a mixed bag of soft and hard skills as well as other factors.

Strong networking and a propensity for good self-publicity were deemed less important factors in advancing careers.

Being politically aware, contrary to many surveys which suggest "who you know" as crucial to securing an internal step-up, was also not given value by those polled either.

Honesty and cultural fit were only averagely ranked too, with most placing them 6th or 7th.

More surprisingly, perhaps, 41 per cent of respondents believed that achieving professional qualifications had little or no impact on career growth, placing this as 9th, 10th or 11th place.

It is also clear that time-serving is less of an issue than perhaps it once was. A total of 29 per cent of respondents placed longevity/loyalty to the firm in last position.

By and large, loyalty was not rewarded, either which was perhaps why retention remains a problem for some banks, said Badenoch & Clark.

"We spend more time at work communicating than any other daily activity," said Clare McNeish, principal consultant at Badenoch & Clark.

"Regardless of what business you are in Ė a large corporation or a small company, effective communication skills are essential for success. An inability to communicate makes it nearly impossible for individuals to be taken seriously in the workplace," she added.