Neurodiversity, a term encompassing conditions such as Autism, ADHD, Aspergers, Dyslexia, and Tourettes, affects a significant portion of the population, with estimates suggesting that up to 15 percent of people are neurodivergent.

In the context of employment, understanding the unique needs and experiences of neurodivergent employees is crucial. While some conditions may qualify as disabilities under the Equality Act 2010, not all individuals identify themselves as such.

A recent study by instantprint sheds light on the opinions of UK office workers on this topic.

Diagnosis Gender Disparity

The survey revealed that over 90 percent of respondents identified themselves as having a neurodiverse condition.

While 70 percent of those diagnosed were male, only 30 percent were female. However, among those currently seeking a diagnosis, 62 percent were female and 38 percent were male, indicating that women are less likely to receive neurodiverse condition diagnoses compared to men.

Rise of TikTok Self-Diagnosis

Social media platforms, especially TikTok, have seen an increase in discussions and content related to neurodiverse conditions.

The survey indicated that younger individuals, particularly those aged 18-34, have been influenced by such platforms, leading to a higher number seeking and obtaining diagnoses. However, among individuals aged 45 and above, 54 percent are currently seeking a diagnosis in adulthood, raising questions about the impact of increased visibility on diagnosis-seeking behaviour in different age groups.

Hesitation to Disclose Neurodiversity in the Workplace

Approximately 39 percent of diagnosed respondents expressed discomfort discussing their neurodiverse conditions with colleagues or employers. This reluctance may stem from personal choice, masking, or apprehensions about judgment and discrimination.

On the other hand, 25 percent felt comfortable discussing their condition to challenge stigmas and advocate for neurodiversity. Notably, 22 percent felt comfortable talking to colleagues but not their employer, while 9 percent reported the opposite, indicating potential concerns about preferential treatment.

Challenges and Strengths at Work

Among the challenges reported by neurodivergent employees at work, the inability to concentrate and feel comfortable stood out at 20 percent. Being hyper-focused on tasks (15%), creative thinking (15%), and problem-solving skills (12%) were also highlighted as strengths associated with neurodiverse conditions.

Also, 48 percent of respondents believed that employers should support neurodiversity in the workplace, and 50 percent agreed but only to a certain extent. Interestingly, 2 percent felt that employers should not provide support for neurodiverse individuals, with the majority of these respondents being neurotypical.

Approximately 29 percent of respondents felt their employers were overly accommodating, while 4 percent said their employers made work more challenging for neurodivergent employees. The remaining respondents believed their employers provided varying degrees of support.

Support Measures Employers Implement

Out of those surveyed, 24 percent of respondents reported being allowed to work from home, while 18 percent had the option for additional breaks.

Also, 14 percent mentioned dedicated spaces for relaxation and recharge, and 11 percent highlighted positive and inclusive language and clear communication as supportive measures.

Return to Work Challenges

A staggering, 21 percent of respondents expressed a preference for the option to work from home, and 17 percent sought flexible working arrangements. It appears that many neurodivergent employees prefer remote work options despite previous positive experiences during the pandemic.

The study sheds light on the importance of understanding and supporting neurodiversity in the workplace. Employers play a vital role in fostering an inclusive environment that allows neurodivergent individuals to thrive and contribute their unique skills and perspectives. By recognising and accommodating their needs, employers can create a more diverse and resilient workforce.





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 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.