Original Research

Impact of demographic variables on emotional intelligence levels amongst a sample of early career academics at a South African higher education institution

Matthew Marembo, Willie T. Chinyamurindi
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 16 | a1051 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.1051 | © 2018 Matthew Marembo, Willie T. Chinyamurindi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 March 2018 | Published: 07 November 2018

About the author(s)

Matthew Marembo, Department of Industrial Psychology, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Willie T. Chinyamurindi, Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, South Africa

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Orientation: Emotional intelligence (EI) is highlighted by the literature as an important attribute that enables an individual to cope with changes and pressures in the work environment and subsequently yields consistent performance. However, some scholars debate the role of demographic diversities and their impact on levels of EI amongst individuals.

Research purpose: This study examined the influence of demographic variables on EI levels amongst early career academics (ECAs).

Motivation for the study: The study interrogates demographic variables and EI, two issues important in the 21st-century workforce setting. The relationship between the two may be of value to the debate surrounding the success of early career professionals in the higher education sector. The success of ECAs should be of importance to institutions of higher learning.

Research approach/design and method: A quantitative approach was followed in conducting the study. Data were collected from a sample of 220 ECAs in a selected university in South Africa. A self-administered questionnaire was sent to the participants using SurveyMonkey online data collection tool. EI was measured using the Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale.

Main findings: Significant EI level differences were observed based on the participants’ ethnic background. However, no significant differences in EI levels could be found based on the respondents’ gender, age and work experience.

Practical/managerial implications: The findings may be relevant to career management and human resources forecasting.

Contribution/value-add: The study adds to the literature on EI and career success of early career professionals.


emotional intelligence; early career academics; demographic variables


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