Recent estimates suggest that today’s employees experience 12 or more jobs changes both voluntary and involuntary in their careers, demonstrating that gaps in employment are a real possibility for many. Unfortunately, an employment gap can be a time of high-stress, and the gap itself can impact a job search, as employers tend to show bias against candidates with breaks in their work history. Fortunately, researchers have found that emotional intelligence may be key in predicting employment gaps and helping neutralize some of their negative effects.
Specifically, being able to harness emotional information to enhance one’s thinking (aka facilitation-based emotional intelligence) is a key determinant in predicting early-career employment gaps, researchers find. Such ability relates to higher self-esteem, which in turn is linked to fewer employment gaps. In addition, the ability to make connections between emotions and situations (aka understanding-based emotional intelligence) minimizes the negative impact that employment gaps have on the fit that people have between the demands of their job and their own knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Satoris S. Howes, associate professor of business and business program lead at Oregon State University-Cascades, along with coauthors Scott Dust (Miami University), Joe Rode (Miami University), Marne Arthaud-Day (Kansas State University), and Aarti Ramaswami (ESSEC Business School) wrote the article “Managing the Self-Esteem, Employment Gaps, and Employment Quality Process: The Role of Facilitation- and Understanding-Based Emotional Intelligence,” published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
The researchers assessed participants’ emotional intelligence and self-esteem and then, ten years later, examined their employment gaps, person-organization fit, and person-job fit.
The study contributes to the emotional intelligence, career management, and job search literatures by illustrating that emotional intelligence plays a role in preventing employment gaps and managing the difficulties associated with subsequent reemployment.
Read their findings here.