Between 15-20 percent of the population are estimated to be neurodivergent.
Yet just a small proportion of this group are in any employment whatsoever, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Analysis by Deloitte shows that in the United States, around 85 percent of individuals on the autism spectrum are unemployed, compared to 4.2 percent of the overall population.
Just 21.7 percent of autistic people are in employment within the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS data shows that autistic people are the least likely to be in work of any other disabled group.
How can employers foster a more inclusive work culture?
Fostering an inclusive work culture ensures diversity of thought, innovation, and a larger pool of talent.
A new initiative, Neurodiversity in Business (NiB), to help ensure greater workplace inclusion of the neurodivergent community has recently launched at an event hosted at the Houses of Parliament.
Commenting on the benefits of an inclusive work culture, CEO of the organisation, Dan Harris, says:
“Businesses around the country are waking up to the enormous benefits that having a neurodiverse workforce can bring to the table. Neurodivergent individuals can bring single-mindedness, attention to detail, innovative thinking patterns, diligence and creativity to bear on any number of practical business matters. But they need better support than is currently available.
“NiB and its members know that by making reasonable (and often easy) modifications to the workplace it is possible to improve neurodiversity in the workplace and be more sustainable too,” he adds.
Sharing best practice is key to ensuring employers develop more inclusive methods of recruitment.
Neurodivergent individuals have sought after skills
Neurodivergent individuals who, among others, associate with Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD often have distinct strengths. These include process structuring and creative problem solving.
It is necessary to ensure that recruitment processes enables neurodivergent individuals to demonstrate their skills. It is also necessary to create more inclusive workplaces. These actions will not only adhere to basic diversity and inclusion rights, but will have tangible benefits for companies in terms of productivity.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.