According to a survey of 500 business leaders by accounting network RSM International, 81 per cent say the most important characteristics are confidence, enthusiasm and an entrepreneurial spirit.
In comparison, only 20 per cent of respondents cite a good academic degree and business acumen amongst their most important.
Some 60 per cent of the survey respondents rate creativity and the ability to diversify as key traits in an entrepreneur whilst willingness to take risks scored less highly.
CEO of RSM International Jean Stephens says, ‘Academic qualifications are obviously important but people skills and entrepreneurialism are assets increasingly sought by employers.
‘In tough economic times these skills help employees and businesses stand out in crowded and competitive marketplace.’