More needs to be done to promote the equality in the workplace of those with autism, the National Autistic Society (NAS) has said.
The organisation has launched a new campaign this week, called ‘The Undiscovered Workforce’, to raise awareness of what it claims is the rife workplace discrimination against those with autism.
Its figures show that, out of the more than half a million people in the UK who have an autism spectrum condition, only 15 per cent are in employment.
One of the main issues, according to NAS, is it is often not immediately apparent that that people who have Asperger’s Syndrome (a mild form of autism) suffer from the condition.
Such people will often miss social cues or can appear to be overly abrupt and tactless when it comes to expressing opinions and in many cases this leads to bullying or unfair dismissal, says the organisation.
Speaking to HR Magazine, Neil Morgenstern, an ambassador for NAS, explained that he had faced many career challenges as a result of being on the autism spectrum, despite having a BA Honours degree from Imperial College and an impressive CV.
“What you will notice from my CV is the number of times I have changed jobs – this was due to being discriminated for being socially different and not due to an inability to do the job well,” he said.
“And this is why I am so passionate about campaigning for this cause.”
Figures show that over half (51 per cent) of adults with autism in the UK have spent time with neither a job, nor access to benefits, with ten per cent of these having been in this position for a decade or more.
However, 61 per cent of autism sufferers who are unemployed say they want to work, as do 79 per cent of those on incapacity benefits.