Globally there is a large autism employment gap. Estimates suggest less than 22% of autistic people are in any form of meaningful employment that aligns to their educational achievements.
Surveys by organizations such as the National Autistic Society reveal that the vast majority of autistic people want to work and have much to offer; however, they are faced with barriers such as complex recruitment processes, lack of support at work, poor autism awareness in companies, and employer prejudice.
Results from our annual Impact Report show that auticon succeeds as a result of its neurodiversity. Most of our autistic team members are hired out of two years of unemployment and the value that a career adds to their life is significant. Despite this, estimates suggest less than 22% of autistic people are in any form of meaningful employment that aligns to their educational achievements.
auticon taps into this potential by employing autistic adults as technology consultants. Autistic employees are supported by job coaches and project managers, producing a win-win-win situation for clients, consultants, as well as society.
Autism influences a person’s perception, cognition and emotions. As autism affects each individual differently, we refer to an autism spectrum. Just like everybody else, autistic people have unique personalities. The spectrum is three-dimensional and the diversity within the autism spectrum is infinite. That explains why auticon takes a person-centric approach: we want to create workplaces that work for people as individuals, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all formula.
“Autism isn’t an additive that merely alters a neurotypical brain, it isn’t super-juice, it’s a whole perspective.” – Aidan
Autism and co-occurring neurodivergent conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia may impact a person’s ability to perform in a job interview, in social situations with colleagues, and in managing project deadlines. Additionally, mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are distinct factors. It is estimated that 20% (British Medical Bulletin, 2020) of people are recognized as neurodivergent.
This makes it highly likely that you are working alongside someone who is neurodivergent. Neurodiverse people are affected throughout the employment lifecycle: from applying for a job, through the recruitment and onboarding processes, and on to retention.
“Neurodiversity is a topic for the entire society. Even people considered ‘typical’ think differently from each other, have to compensate and mask. The neurodiversity discussion can benefit everyone.” – Benjamin
Whether an autistic person experiences their condition as a disability or not depends on the individual. Some self-advocacy and autistic pride movements do not see autistic people as disabled – they see the environment as the limiting factor. To others, autism itself can be very disabling. Either way, it is important to recognise that all autistic people are entitled to reasonable adjustments.
“The biggest change for me since joining auticon is not having to convince people that I need accommodations.” – Brooke
Our clients experience our autistic teams first-hand, achieving diversity goals and breaking down stereotypes. As a result, auticon builds awareness around neurodiversity, improves internal practices, and contributes to our clients success through the work of our highly skilled consultants. “I now have a much thorough understanding of the positive workplace contribution that someone with autism can make,” responded one client in our recent Impact Report survey, “and what autism actually is.”
“It is inspiring to see the growth of auticon in the UK and worldwide. auticon has the potential to transform lives from a sense of societal exclusion that comes with underemployment to the sense of inclusion and being valued for talents through high quality employment. Employment also improves mental health and autonomy, through financial independence. And client companies benefit too, from the diversity and originality that autistic employees bring to the job. I’m proud to be an advisor to the auticon board.”
– Professor Simon Baron-Cohen
University of Cambridge
In 2021, auticon launched a new podcast called “Autism: In conversation with auticon.” The series is designed to drive awareness of the realities of autism in the workplace, from the merits of hiring neurodiverse talent to some of the more common challenges faced by autistic adults navigating the workplace. Hosted by Carrie Grant, each episode features interviews with leading voices on autism, including figures from the business world, social media influencers and autism academics.