Report highlights autistic-majority employer’s success in creating a neurodiverse work culture and its effort to drive global social change

The cover of auticon and units' 2024 impact report, titled "Scaling Our Impact"

In recognizing April as Autism Acceptance Month, auticon and Unicus today published their 2023 Impact Report, “Scaling Our Impact.” The report details the combined company’s success in becoming 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; 2% are estimated to be autistic. Despite many autistic people being talented, qualified, and keen 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.

On the other hand, there are enormous skill gaps and talent shortages in the tech sector that are increasingly difficult to fill. These shortages will only become more acute in the next decade. It is estimated that 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 this gifted talent pool of autistic professionals.

Some highlights from the 2023 Impact Report include:

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 its autistic employees:

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

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

“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.

The company just opened its 15th market in Ireland.

“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 the field of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) with very little said about it in workplaces. With an increasing prevalence of autism, there is the opportunity and the responsibility to foster greater understanding of and inclusion of alternative thinkers in workplaces as well as in 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.”

Additionally, the report provides data from auticon’s recent global “Neurodiversity at Work Report” with a survey of autistic professionals who give 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; 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 Neuroinclusion Services team provided training for 6,000 professionals from 149 companies during 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 resulting in 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.

About auticon
auticon is an award-winning social innovation company. As an autistic-majority company, we’re a resource for talent. We integrate our technology consultants into client organizations, performing as software developers, data analysts, QA engineers, and more. Clients experience our outstanding autistic professionals first-hand, opening minds and achieving diversity goals.

Our model improves the economic and social conditions of the autistic community with quality careers, unlocking opportunity, and empowering client organisations through actionable neurodiversity training and advisory services. Here, our employees build lifelong careers in technology, discovering personal autonomy and improved self-esteem.

auticon has international offices throughout Europe, United Kingdom, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Investors include Ferd, Autism Impact Fund, Ananda Impact Ventures, KOIS, Felix Porsche, Sir Richard Branson, Ferst Capital Partners, and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

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