Impact on Economy and Business
To understand why it makes sense for organizations to neurodiversify, let’s consider the facts. There’s no denying the fact that talent is becoming more and more difficult to source worldwide. In British Columbia, the shortage of talent predicted is significant and will have a negative impact on the province’s economic health and growth, in other words, our GDP.
Another very real fact – right now in BC, there’s an overlooked talent pool of more than 40,000 adults who are either unemployed or underemployed. I’m talking about people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. And here’s the really interesting fact; people with autism have incredible talents, especially those with high-functioning autism. They are creative, thorough and reliable, and can significantly contribute to a company’s productivity and success, as well as our overall economic health.
Now imagine what would happen if employers tapped into this talent pool. Not only would it help organizations become more productive and creative by employing autistics, people with autism would become taxpayers, contributing members of society, and no longer need to rely on disability benefits from the government.
There are many suitable jobs for people with autism.
Like all people, autistic individuals have their own unique aptitudes, personalities, and interests. As employers, when we hire individuals on the autism spectrum, we need to take in one other aspect and that is the level of support the person with autism requires. There are three levels of support recognized in autism (for simplicity, I’ve labelled them as significant, moderate and some support) and this level of support influences what types of jobs are suitable for autistics.
Rote, Repetitive Tasks
These jobs may exist in an organization or they may be created through job carving, which is where an employer takes routine and repetitive tasks from existing roles and groups them together to create a new job for people with autism. For example, photocopying, scanning, or data entry. Rote, repetitive jobs are suitable for autistics who require moderate to significant support.
Repetitive Tasks / Usually Solo Jobs
These jobs vary little from day-to-day and may require decisions within a structured process or set of rules. For example, stocking shelves or laying carpet. These jobs are suitable for employing autistics who require moderate support.
Non-Repetitive and Non-Rote Tasks
These jobs require individuals who are capable cognitively, and who can work independently and with others. Tasks may require interpersonal interactions, analytical and critical thinking skills, and decision-making. Employers usually do not think of these jobs as being suitable for individuals on the autism spectrum. Big surprise here! Individuals on the spectrum who require some support are very capable of working in these types of jobs.
And here’s another eye-opening fact: it is this group of people – autistics who require some support – who are typically underemployed. We, as an economy and as employers, are missing out on the significant talents and abilities these autistic adults are capable of contributing when we under-employ them.
To determine a plan of action to neurodiversify in your organization, take our free and confidential
Neurodiversity Readiness Assessment