The overall hiring goal of any organization has to be to find the best qualified and most suitable candidate for the open position. However, many businesses are shooting themselves in the foot by passing over individuals on the autism spectrum. In British Columbia alone, there are an estimate 8,000 adults on the autism spectrum who are ready to join the workforce, and they all bring something extra to the table in today’s job market.

Some of the reasons that individuals on the autism spectrum don’t get into the workforce come from their awareness of the social skills challenges needed to get a job; the whole process of finding jobs that suit their needs and skills, writing applications and undergoing neurotypical interview processes can feel overwhelming. However, many autistic traits enable people on the autism spectrum to make valuable contributions at work, such as:

  • Excellent focus – one of the key traits of someone on the autism spectrum is their ability to focus on a single task or area of interest for extended periods of time, often exceeding those of their neurotypical colleagues. When an individual on the spectrum finds work that matches their interests, they are able to develop expertise and mastery levels of skill in a relatively short period of time.
  • Enjoyment of repetitive tasks – repetition can often be soothing and relaxing for people on the autism spectrum, and they can sustain a much higher tolerance for doing the same task repeatedly than other workers. This especially applies to routine tasks with a set checklist to follow where there are unlikely to be any deviations or changes to the process. This enjoyment does not preclude an ability to adapt to and excel in non-repetitive tasks or variables in a process.
  • Heightened attention to details – employees of people on the autism spectrum often find that their heightened attention to small details and outstanding pattern recognition skills make them excellent at technical work. This attention to details is often combined with an ability to visualize complex problems in novel ways, which in turn leads to better and more efficient ways of doing their work. In this thought process, the autistic individual is able to identify ambiguities where others made assumptions.
  • Honesty – a person on the autism spectrum is likely to tell you what they’re thinking about and how they feel in a certain situation. This forthrightness often influences those around them to be more honest and open in their relationships at work.

These positive aspects of autism help individuals on the spectrum to make valuable contributions at work. The costs of accommodations and training to fully integrate an autistic employee into the workplace are outweighed by the positives: a fresh pair of eyes on old problems, a different thought process, recognition of patterns, increased honesty and transparency in communications, and a reduction in ambiguities. It’s truly a win-win situation, so now is the time to include Focus-supplied candidates for your next hiring process.