Engineers are less empathetic than healthcare workers.  That is stereotypical and proven out by research.

Advanced engineers, on the other hand, often take on leading positions in companies, where they have to be able to lead teams involving many co-workers. This requires both good communication skills and social competence. In today’s global business world you also need intercultural competence, an ability to communicate and collaborate with people from entirely different cultures.  Sometimes the failures can be spectacular.  There is a need for empathy.

When the students of computer engineering and applied physics that participated In this study are compared, when controlled for gender differences, it has been found that computer engineers are not vastly different in their empathic skills from healthcare workers.  The researchers have a theory about why: the computer engineering students were taught with PBL, problem-based learning, which is not the case for the applied physics students.  PBL forces collaboration and communication to solve problems.  The suggestion is that this training method can influence future empathy.

Chato Rasoal, Henrik Danielsson, Tomas Jungert. Empathy among students in engineering programmes. European Journal of Engineering Education, 2012; 37 (5)

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