Around one in 100 people are affected by autism, but data shows only 15 per cent of adults diagnosed with the condition are currently in full-time employment. This is despite the fact the majority of these individuals are able and willing to work if they are given the right training.
Autism is a spectrum so it affects people in different ways, but people with the condition usually have problems with social interaction, social communication and social imagination. A government report produced by bodies including the National Autistic Society Northern Ireland highlighted ways employers can ensure jobs are available to adults with autism.
It was noted how adults with autism often have skills such as attention to detail, a methodical approach, strong research skills, good long-term memory and excellent record-keeping that can make them highly valuable employees for a company.
FMW Recycling managing director Helena Dunne, who employs adults with autism at her firm, told the Swindon Advertiser that her staff members do “demanding work that requires high levels of concentration”, adding: “I really wouldn’t be without them.”
To mark World Autism Day, which took place yesterday (April 2nd), Hannah Gal of the UK’s National Autistic Society told the Huffington Post that adults with autism want to work and with the right support and understanding from companies can make excellent employees.
Jonathan Young, a business analyst at Goldman Sachs, is on the autistic spectrum but explained in an interview with the Guardian that he does not allow this to hold him back.
Firms need to ensure their job advertisements are free of jargon and use clear language, as otherwise adults with autism can be put off from applying. They also should add a section on the application where the individual can detail any adjustments they may require during the recruitment process as a result of their autism.
Interviews can be particularly stressful for individuals with autism, so employers must do all they can to make the process simple and easy to understand for applicants.