Hyper Island Executive Study: Personality Trumps Skill in Search for Digital Talent

Global learning institute, Hyper Island, has released its findings from an international survey conducted of hundreds of industry professionals, revealing a surprising picture of the most desirable qualities in the leaders and workers of tomorrow. The survey,“Tomorrow’s Most Wanted”, polled over 500 top leaders (CEO’s, Managing Directors, Creative Directors) and employees across agencies and companies within the communication, tech and business development industries, measuring perceptions of future challenges, readiness for those challenges, and the skills and qualities needed to meet them.


“What we found most compelling about this research is how clearly it highlights that personality, not competence, is the determining factor of who’s going to get the most attractive jobs among tomorrow’s recruits. Also, there is a growing desire for talent with a unique combination of skill and flexibility––people who can collaborate, adapt quickly and are enjoyable company, but also have the drive to get things done. All those traits boil down to a personality that is essential for businesses operating in an ever changing digital landscape. Thus, specific competence is less important.” says Hyper Island CEO Johanna Frelin.

Overwhelmingly, “Personality” rose as the most desirable quality in a worker, with 78% of respondents giving it a top rating as opposed to “Skill-set” at only 39%. “Cultural Alignment,” sat at 53% . Specifically, a majority of those surveyed indicated that a unique combination of creativity and drive will be the hallmarks of success for tomorrow’s best talent. Important skills included creative technology and UX/UI design.


The research also clarifies that the biggest challenge the industry will face tomorrow is finding, keeping and developing the right talent, which 20 % of respondents noted as their chief concern. Additionally, 10% of respondents noted technical and digital development as their primary challenge, followed by 9% of respondents indicating that product and service development were of central importance.

Further interesting findings include that 14% of respondents considered Drive the most essential personality trait; 12% considered Creativity most important, and 11% found an Open Mind most desirable.
The competencies most in demand include Problem Solving with 7 % of respondents giving it a top rating, followed by Idea generation at 6 %, and Creative Technology at 6 % .

Hyper Island has garnered a reputation for its “experience-based learning” approach to teaching companies and executives patterns of success in the increasingly ubiquitous digital landscape. Emphasizing collaboration and team-effort instead of individual achievement, Hyper Island’s programs mirror the global creative workplace indicated in the research. “We’ve had a lot of success fostering skills in executives that lead to greater creativity, problem solving and team management, continues Frelin, “and this research will help us show them how to find, keep and develop talent with those same traits.”

Hyper Island’s programs have met with increasing demand and success since its first branch opening in Sweden in 1996. Since then the school has grown globally to locations including New York City, Manchester in the UK and Singapore. Hyper Island has collaborated with major brands and agencies including Bacardi, RPA, and LBi. One recent success for Hyper Island was leading the transition of Aftonbladet, Sweden’s leading newspaper, from print publication to online media company.

About the Study:

The conclusions above were drawn from a global “Tomorrow’s Most Wanted” study conducted by Edelman in Stockholm, Sweden, for Hyper Island. The study was conducted over a three month period in 2013, and polled over 500 international respondents; around half of those polled were in leadership positions.

For more information, please contact:

Alexandra Jerselius
Global PR & Communications Manager, Hyper Island

Nathaniel Pollard
Marketing and Brand Strategist, TRUST

About Hyper Island

Hyper Island designs lifelong learning experiences within the fields of digital communications, innovation and change management for people and organisations all over the world. Hyper Island acts both as a learning institute for individuals and as strategic partner to companies that want to transform their business or organization’s culture. The company was founded in 1996 in a naval prison in Karlskrona, Sweden. Since then, it has had nearly 5000 graduates and program participants coming from around 40 countries. Today, Hyper Island has approximately 60 employees situated in New York, Singapore, Manchester, Stockholm, and Karlskrona.

In 2010, Hyper Island was presented the Knowledge Award, issued by the Swedish National Encyclopedia for bringing innovative and inspiring knowledge to others.