Discover the strength of autism at work

Luke Keioskie
Thu 24 May

An online roundtable aimed at helping employers invest in the strengths and skills of autistic candidates has been launched by Autism CRC.

The online [email protected] employer roundtable allows employers to share their learnings on the benefits of employing people on the autism spectrum and allowing them to gain and sustain employment.

The roundtable will also help employers to gain an understanding on the latest in related research and employment tools from Autism CRC and other research initiatives.

An increasing number of Australian employers are investing in workforce neurodiversity and implementing employment programs for individuals on the autism spectrum – better engaging with this significantly untapped talent pool within our diverse society.

Like many, autistic individuals have strengths and skills that might contribute to more productive and innovative workplaces. Often, though, traditional employment practices and environments make it difficult for those strengths and skills to be recognised and for autistic individuals to gain and sustain employment. Organisations currently operating autism employment programs report benefits beyond the programs themselves, with the changes made to employment processes to better engage autistic individuals also leading to greater recognition and upskilling of their entire workforce.

SAP Australia president and managing director Colin Brookes said there are [email protected] employees in IT project management, graphic design, data analysis and finance administration across ten countries.

“We started small in Australia, focusing on everyone’s unique ability to contribute rather than their perceived limitations and this has helped us see new possibilities with this ground-breaking program,” Mr Brookes said.

CEO of Autism CRC Andrew Davis said while there has been a significant increase in autism employment programs across Australia, the ABS puts the unemployment rate for those on the spectrum at more than 30 per cent – that is three times the rate for people with disability and almost six times the rate of people without disability.

“There remains a significant opportunity to engage this talent pool to the benefit of individuals, workplaces and society,” Mr Davis said.

“Autism CRC’s vision is to see autistic people empowered to discover and use their diverse strengths and interests. Obtaining meaningful employment and economic participation enables greater quality of life, health and wellbeing.”

Australia’s first [email protected] Forum was held in September 2017, bringing together employers, autistic employees, researchers and policy-makers.