Conventional wisdom links earning potential primarily to IQ. The smarter a person is, the higher their salary (or so the theory goes). But new research shows that emotional intelligence may be a better predictor of financial success than IQ.

According to TalentSmart, people who exhibit high levels of EQ earn an average of $29,0000 more per year than people who exhibit low levels of EQ.

“The link between emotional intelligence and earnings is so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an annual salary,” TalentSmart concludes. “These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world. We haven’t yet been able to find a job in which performance and pay aren’t tied closely to emotional intelligence.”

When it comes to calculating EQ, researchers have identified four core skills that are divided into two primary categories: personal competence and social competence.

Personal Competence

  • Self-awareness: marked by your ability to identify and remain conscious of your emotions.
  • Self-management: marked by your ability to cope with your emotions in a healthy manner.

Social Competence

  • Social-awareness: marked by your ability to identify and empathize with other people’s emotions.
  • Relationship management: marked by your ability to connect with other people and successfully manage interactions based on your awareness of their emotions.

The good news is that EQ is not static—meaning that it can be developed and strengthened over time.

“Intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50,” TalentSmart explains. “Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. Although some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, you can develop high emotional intelligence even if you aren’t born with it.”