Mental health and illness have never been as common in the public consciousness as they are right now. More and more people are coming forward with their stories. Stories of masking and struggles having a neurodivergent brain in a neurotypical-focused world. However, this rise in autism awareness and movement towards autism understanding. Isn’t translating into equal opportunities for autistic adults in the workplace. While it’s estimated that there are around 50,000 adults with an autism diagnosis in British Columbia. a recent study found that over 80% of them are either unemployed or underemployed. Meaning they’re in work that doesn’t utilize their skills and experience to the fullest.
Why Hire Autistic Workers
This disconnect between an improved awareness of autism. The chronically low employment rate for autistic adults is a result of many different factors. And in part, there’s still work to do to educate the general population about the strengths that autistic individuals bring to society. In the workplace, employers can expect to get some of these benefits when they hire autistic workers:
- High levels of concentration – one of the hallmark traits of many autistic people is an ability to focus on tasks for extended periods of time. This is especially true when it’s an area that they are interested in. So it’s essential to make sure that their interests mesh, or can be made to mesh, with the work at hand.
- A new way of seeing things – it’s recognized that part of being autistic means that they understand the world in different ways than neurotypical colleagues. In the workplace, this means that your autistic employee will often be able to see new solutions to existing problems . And find ways to streamline processes in ways that no one has thought of before.
- Streamlined communication – your entire staff will need to learn new ways to communicate when you hire an autistic worker. Most autistic adults have learned how to get along with neurotypical people. But abstract linguistic tools like sarcasm, idioms, and metaphors are often confusing for them. By getting rid of these in the workplace, and moving towards concise emails and meetings. you’ll find that communication improves for your entire company.
It goes without saying that not every autistic worker will give you all of these benefits. Autism comes in many different forms (hence the concept of the autism spectrum) and each individual will have different characteristics. All this means for employers, however, is that there will be other benefits to hiring autistic workers to discover.
How To Help Autistic Adults Get Jobs
With all of these benefits of hiring autistic workers, the next step is to work with your hiring team to help people with autism to find a job. Some of the changes you’ll need to make include:
- Concrete job adverts – most job adverts are targeted at neurotypical jobseekers and are designed to be deliberately vague to encourage as many people as possible to apply. However, it can be hard for autistic applicants to generalize from their current skill set to their desired role.
- In-person applications – written applications are another hurdle that autistic jobseekers have to overcome. It can be hard for them to put into the typical resume. And cover letter their unique skills and talents that they will bring to your company. Instead, consider allowing them to talk to you in person. Online or over the phone where you can ask clarifying questions. And get a good sense of who they are as a worker.
- Active interviews – time and time again, the traditional face-to-face interview has been shown to be a poor indicator of future job performance. For both autistic and neurotypical applicants, a performance or task-based interview process gives instant insight into what you’d get by hiring that individual.
Getting Professional Help
All of these changes will help autistic adults to get a job with your company. But it can be hard to know how to start making these changes. This is when teaming up with Orbital is your next best hiring strategy. Our team of experts will work with your recruitment team to help you find. Recruit and retain the highest quality autistic workers and get your company all the benefits that neurodiversity brings.