If you’re an empathetic person — good at connecting with other people’s feelings — can that help you win prestigious jobs that pay $100,000 a year or more? Or will you be stuck at the low end of the pay scale, doing a lot to promote rapport and smooth out problems in your field, but never earning a big salary for your trouble?
Earlier in June I wrote a piece for LinkedIn Influencers, arguing that empathy will emerge as a “must-have” job skill by 2020. The article attracted more than 890,000 readers, and lots of kind words. (Wow! — and thanks.) In that piece, I cited lots of fast-growing, middle-tier careers where empathy matters, such as sports coaching, nursing and financial planning. But I didn’t look at the empathy’s relevance or irrelevance at the high end of the job market.