Empathy: the last big business taboo?

Empathy must no longer be perceived as a soft overtly feminine skill but as a commercial tool that businesses ignore at their peril


Lack of empathy in the workplace is one of the reasons that women find it difficult to flourish in corporations. In the technology industry alone,41% of women leave before 10 years. Must the companies that make our machines treat their staff as if they were machines too?


We can see the empathy deficit in the culture of business. Most corporations have become places where ‘systemisers’ flourish. According to professor Simon Baron-Cohen, these are individuals who excel at logic and analysis but tend to perform worse at empathy skills. Systemisers are more likely to be male.


Corporations place very little value on the other extreme: the empathisers: These are people who are good at reading emotions and understanding the dynamics of a situation and they tend to be female.


by Belinda Parmar