It’s estimated that in British Columbia alone, there are 40,000 adults on the autism spectrum who are either unemployed or underemployed in comparison to their neurotypical peers. Out of these, it’s estimated that there’s a talent pool of at least 8,000 adults on the spectrum who can be independently successful in the workplace with the right support and accommodations. These individuals come with a unique skill set, from incredible abilities of concentration to high attention to details which make them excellent employees.
However, there are many barriers facing these individuals, from poorly adapted hiring practices to negative preconceived notions of the abilities of people on the spectrum. These negative connotations often stop employers from even considering individuals on the autism spectrum in the first place, but there are many benefits of hiring people on the autism spectrum
One of the underpinning beliefs in Canadian society is that everyone has the right to opportunities and to be a contributing member of society. When people on the autism spectrum get hired in jobs that fully make use of their skills and abilities, they get to exercise that right. Employment builds confidence, and the financial compensation fosters independence and lifestyle choices, both of which are traits that are often denied to people on the autism spectrum because the world isn’t set up to help them succeed. With employment, the individual on the autism spectrum will embark on a journey of personal growth and development just like any other employee which is a right that everyone should be able to access.
The benefits of creating a more neurodiverse workplace cannot be understated. At a simple level, it will help develop a sense of empathy and understanding among existing staff members which will carry over into other relationships. An unexpected benefit is greater loyalty from the employees to the employer as everyone likes to be proud of where they work and be contributing to something larger than the bottom line. By removing ambiguity and providing clear, concise instructions for autistic employees, all employees benefit. Productivity improves as processes become more efficient or service delivery improves. Finally, individuals on the autism spectrum often see the world in different ways that allow for new solutions to be found for existing problems.
Society at large
Often employers see the benefits of hiring people on the autism spectrum in terms of their own organization and to the individual themselves. However, there is also a sense of helping the greater good. The economy as a whole prospers as employment places the autistic person as contributing to the tax base, and their disposable income adds to the local economy.
Hiring someone on the spectrum requires organizational learning on how to effectively hire and retain this talent group. With Orbital’s training and support, the benefits of hiring people on the autism spectrum can be easily reached in any organization.