Autism is far more common than most people realise. In the UK alone, there are over 700,000 autistic individuals, which is a little more than 1 out of every 100 people.
Autistic individuals can be exceptionally talented and become invaluable assets to any business, but there still remains a stigma attached to employing autistic people. In fact, statistics show that over 60% of autistic adults are unemployed.
Employers have a lot to gain by understanding that making their workplaces ‘autism friendly’ isn’t about ticking boxes and meeting CSR objectives, its about seeking out and experiencing the talent of fantastic individuals.
This blog aims to help employers understand more about autism and the benefits autistic individuals can bring to their workplace.
What is autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects the way individuals interact and communicate with the world around them. It affects different individuals to varying degrees, meaning that some individuals may need more support than others.
People on the autistic spectrum often have difficulty with social interaction, engagement and communication. This includes things like establishing relationships and reciprocating verbal and nonverbal communication (such as body language), can prove difficult.
Some autistic individuals may struggle with abstract thinking, such as sequencing, organising and planning ahead. For this reason, its common for many autistic individuals to enjoy having a routine and familiarity – a trait that can prove particularly valuable for employers.
What are the benefits of employing an autistic individual?
Fantastic problem-solving abilities
Autistic people are neuro-diverse, which means their brains work differently and can process and respond to information differently than a neuro-typical individual. Autistic traits are very useful for problem solving tasks, as it means they consider a broader range of possibilities and are less likely to make assumptions. This means autistic people can bring unique perspectives and solve problems differently within a workplace.
They can do any job
There are a lot of myths and stereotypes about the types of jobs that are and aren’t suitable for autistic people. A common stereotype is that they are best suited to science and technology roles. Although this can be true, the reality is that autistic people come from all walks of life and backgrounds and have a huge range of skills and passions.
Unique skill sets
Autistic people have a unique set of skills that can really benefit businesses. These include high attention to detail, out of the box thinking and accuracy to name a few.
Research suggests that autistic employees were as much as 140% more productive than their neuro-typical colleagues. This is because autistic individuals have an increased ability to focus on certain tasks and can concentrate for an extended period of time.
Disruption and innovation
Employing autistic individuals and building an inclusive workforce has been shown to significantly benefit businesses, as it disrupts the status quo and drives innovation forward. This is because the different experiences, minds and thoughts allows businesses to improve processes and constantly think of better ways to do things.
Increased business performance
Research suggests that more diverse companies experience 19% higher revenues than there non-diverse counterparts due to innovation. This shows that diversity isn’t just a metric to strive for, but instead an integral part of a 21st century business.
The power of millenials
By 2025, it is said that over 75% of the global workforce will be made up of millennials. This means that the majority of business decisions will be made by this group. In a 2016 survey, 47% of millennials said they are actively looking for diversity and inclusion when looking for jobs.
There are so many benefits of employing autistic individuals. This blog has named just a few of those. If you’re thinking about employing autistic individuals and experiencing the benefits mentioned above, chat to us!