5 Skills Employed By Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

skills needed for io psychologist

Skills Employed By Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Critical Thinking
  • Data Analysis
  • Adaptability
  • Technology

Industrial-organizational (IO) psychology has been growing in relevance as we humans have begun to realize just how much of our lives we spend organizing ourselves into various groups. IO psychologists are particularly concerned with how we behave in the workplace. A successful career in this field is dependent on one’s ability to use a unique set of qualifications, including these five skills.

Related Resource: 10 Most Affordable Top-Ranked Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify one’s own emotions, as well as those of others, and respond to them appropriately. IO psychologists work with diverse groups of individuals in a wide variety of settings, so they must always appeal to unique personality and learning styles. Given that workplace and other organizational relationships are challenging to navigate, they frequently interact with people at their most vulnerable. The ability to balance empathy with professional boundaries is essential in this role.

Critical Thinking

IO psychologists are often called in when an organization is broken in some way. Some of their primary tasks:

  • include designing and implementing new training regimens
  • helping employees achieve a healthy work-life balance
  • developing new systems for measuring achievement

All of these tasks require:

  • strong analytical skills
  • creativity
  • a focus on solutions
  • the ability to think outside the box

Forbes published an insightful article diving deeper into the key mechanisms of critical thinking.

Related Resource: What are Psychomotor Skills?

Data Analysis

IO psychology is one of those fields which is focused on both people and data. The success of their work is measured by both individual well being and improvements in entire organizations. Areas include:

  • employee workplace satisfaction
  • human capital retention
  • effectiveness of training sessions,

IO psychologists must be able to gather and analyze data on the outcome of each project they work on. Furthermore, they must be able to communicate to organizations how best to put that data into practice.


IO psychology is a highly dynamic field. Most IO psychologists contract out their services, meaning they work with multiple organizations at once. They move frequently to new organizations. In other words, this is not the role for someone who prefers going to a nine to five job at the same place every day. On the other hand, it is the perfect role for someone who:

  • thrives on changes in environment
  • excels at time management
  • enjoys working with a wide variety of individuals


It is a digital world that we live in, and this is especially true for IO psychologists. Most of their data tracking and training programs will be online and technical. They must quickly learn to operate each organization’s systems and equipment. A strong foundation in technology and the ability to learn quickly are essential. Given the growing ease of remote employment, many of their interactions with clients will be exclusively online.


As society continues to evolve, the ways in which people interact within their various organizational systems change constantly. Through the use of skills such as these five, industrial-organization psychologists strive to help individuals and organizations with adapting to these changes and achieving consistent progress. This is an excellent career path for dynamic people looking to challenge themselves by helping others.

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