auticon and Unicus Release 2023 Global Impact Report

Report highlights success in creating a neurodiverse work culture and efforts to drive global social change

TORONTO, ON — (APRIL 2, 2024) – In recognition of April as Autism Acceptance Month, auticon and Unicus today published their 2023 Impact Report, “Scaling our Impact.” The report details the successes auticon and Unicus have seen since joining forces to become the world’s largest autistic-majority employer, a leading source for autistic technology talent and neuroinclusion services, and one of the largest social enterprises in the world.

Between 15-20% of the global population are neurodivergent, and 2% are estimated to be autistic. Despite many autistic people being talented, qualified, and motivated to work, only 29% of autistic people are in full-time employment. Within the autistic workforce, a vast majority are under-employed, working in jobs that they are over-qualified or over-skilled for.

At the same time, the tech sector has enormous skill gaps and talent shortages that are increasingly difficult to fill. These shortages will only become more acute in the next decade. By 2030, the demand for skilled workers will outstrip supply, resulting in a global talent shortage of 85.2 million people (Korn Ferry, 2018). auticon and Unicus allow employers to tap into a gifted talent pool of autistic professionals.

Some highlights from the 2023 Impact Report:

Organizational impact:

  • 81% of client teams reported feeling more confident working with an autistic colleague.
  • 73% report positive cultural impact on their team, including clearer communication, better teamwork, increased empathy, and a greater sense of purpose.
  • 96% of clients say that auticon and Unicus consultants made valuable contributions to their projects, including greater accuracy, alternative perspectives, innovative approaches, and increased efficiency.

Individual impact on autistic employees:

  • 64% were unemployed before being hired by auticon and Unicus.
  • 77% say they can be their authentic self at work with auticon and Unicus.
  • 84% say that they feel valued for who they are at auticon and Unicus.
  • 78% report improved well-being now that they’re working with auticon and Unicus.
  • 74% feel more confident since working with auticon and Unicus.

In 2023, auticon and Unicus worked with 266 client companies, delivering 402 technology consulting projects.

“Our team of people with wide-ranging skills and professional backgrounds are all challenging outdated assumptions on who can and can’t contribute to a workplace. The varied social and cultural settings that auticon operates in today has further served to lend us a richer understanding of diversity and inclusion,” said auticon Group CEO Kurt Schöffer.

“auticon and Unicus have the same DNA and vision to create a more inclusive world. By combining Unicus and auticon’s experience, geographical reach and understanding of diverse cultural contexts, we have the prerequisites for a social impact powerhouse that can foster change at scale and with pace. I am excited about the journey ahead!” said Unicus Founder, Lars Johansson-Kjellerød.

Neurodiversity remains an equally underrepresented topic in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB), with very little attention paid to it in workplaces. With an increasing prevalence of autism, there is an opportunity and responsibility to foster a greater understanding of and inclusion of alternative thinkers in workplaces and society more broadly.

auticon Labs’ Director, Aleksander Oleszkiewicz adds, “Organizations must reflect deeply on the spoken and unspoken needs of their neurodivergent employees when considering how to build truly inclusive cultures. This can help create healthy workplace environments where everyone (not just the neurodivergent) has the psychological safety to thrive.”

“This report demonstrates the impact neuroinclusive workplaces can have on the success of autistic colleagues,” commented Garth Johnson, CEO, auticon Canada. “We are incredibly proud and privileged to work with such talented team members, and we recognize there is still much work to be done.”

This report includes additional data from auticon’s recent global “Neurodiversity at Work” report, in which autistic professionals were surveyed and painted a troubling picture of workplaces that lack basic support systems for neurodivergent employees:

  • Only 17% of autistic professionals in junior roles have an autistic role model; while only 45% in senior roles have an autistic role model.
  • 34% of autistic professionals have never requested a reasonable adjustment

To support organizations in building inclusive cultures and practices, auticon’s international Neuroinclusion Services team trained 6,000 professionals from 149 companies in 2023.

“At auticon, we’ve seen first-hand the commitment of our customers to take a holistic approach to business, one that prioritizes social and environmental responsibility and contributes to the greater good. It is exciting to witness and be part of this burgeoning movement of business-for-good,” said Meeta Thareja, Chief People & Social Innovation Officer.

About the report design

This year’s impact report has been crafted and designed by La Casa de Carlota – the first design studio working with Down syndrome and autistic creatives. The team’s different perspectives uncover fresh creative avenues, breaking free from the mainstream and producing something extraordinary and powerful. Our collaboration celebrates our joint belief in the strengths of neurodiversity to deliver exceptional results while making an important impact on the lives of those working with us.

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