The Changing Role of Autism in the Workforce

There has been a growing interest among large businesses like Microsoft, AT&T, and Virgin in bringing more people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) into the workforce. Numerous new programs are being initiated by the aforementioned companies, and many other organizations seeking to change the stigma around hiring people diagnosed with ASD.

Employees with autism bring something unique to the workplace that goes deeper than just increased diversity. Many of the common skills employers seek in potential employees — like focus, strong data analysis skills, and attention to detail — are all traits that persons on the autism spectrum are known for possessing.

When trying to involve more individuals with autism in the workforce, there are several barriers between employer and employee that both parties have been working for years to overcome. But the biggest issue is presented during the hiring process in the job interview, which can often become an overwhelming source of stress for individuals on the autism spectrum. In response to this, employers are now creating new interview processes that cater to those with special needs.

These new interviews are focused less around the interviewees’ social skills and more on their technical skills testing their work experience and expertise. On top of this, instead of face – to - face conversations, many of these new interviews take place online. This allows employers to spend less time personally screening individuals and helps applicants feel more at ease when applying. This seemingly simple change levels the employment playing field in a major way!

So what are your thoughts on these developments? Are there other ways you think employers could improve the application process? Tweet us your answers@UDiscoveringor leave a comment on the UDiscovering Facebook page to let us know!