An increasing number of employers are recognising the real benefits of employing staff who are on the autistic spectrum. Of course, it could be argued that we are all somewhere on the autistic spectrum, but those with autistic traits have been found to outperform those employees without in some areas – leading to employers seeking them out.
However, in order to reap the benefits of this relatively untapped workforce, employers may need to make a few changes. The manner of communication in the workplace may need to change, with a need for managers to be more precise and less ambiguous when communicating with autistic staff. That being said, this clearer, more concise communication style has been found to be favoured by many non-autistic staff too!
It may take extra effort to find the right staff, plus there may be a need to alter working methods to better suit autistic employees, but it has been shown to pay off. One tech company in the U.S., ULTRA testing primarily employs autistic people, looking for staff who have relevant skills such as analytical reasoning and pattern recognition rather than being hung up on previous experience. ULTRA co-founder, Rajesh Anadan said that his employees often outperformed those from other companies. For example, their staff found 56% more bugs during software tests for IBM than IBM’s own staff had!
Other tech companies have followed suit by actively seeking to employ those who are on the autistic spectrum, including Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. Of course, not everybody with autism wants to work in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) based careers, but character traits associated with autism have been shown to benefit employers in a wide range of different careers, including banking, healthcare, and consulting.
Companies are finding that with the right hiring processes they can tap into the reputed talents of those with autism, including focus, loyalty and a great attention to detail. However, to do this, an employer needs to work to support autistic employees – including making sure not to have interview processes that will alienate those with autism.
Given the right support, autistic employees have been shown to be a loyal and talented asset for businesses to tap into – creating strong workforces and offering great employment opportunities to autistic people.