Corporates nowadays are getting increasingly progressive and becoming more open to a diverse workforce. In a perhaps reassuring news, we see more people dealing with Autism being featured in hiring campaigns by big companies such as Microsoft (exact figures unknown and likely to be small, yet the direction of being more inclusive is in itself something to celebrate about). As a parent of a daughter suffering from Autism, there are deep concerns I struggle with daily, and I am glad by the phenomenon of a more inclusive society where people with special needs are considered on the merits of their strength.
Big companies like Microsoft are hiring more people on the Autism spectrum
Recently, Carrie Tierney, a 36 years old analyst was featured and mentioned. She works for a company known as Chargeback, which deals with investigation and documentation of credit card disputes, especially in situations when the credit card holder claims that someone wrongfully uses their credit cards without authorization. As a result, the analysts hired have to be obsessive and possess a strong eye for detail.
Chargeback’s President, Khalid El-Awady said that he was “very, very impressed” that Carrie was able to easily go through her training, and managed repetitive and mundane tasks with ease. This experience has allowed him to re-think his hiring policies, and potentially hiring more people on the spectrum with similar capabilities, viewing Autism as a potential strength, rather than a disability labeled by medical textbooks.
This movement is still early, but more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon to bring neurodiverse employees into their organization, in the rush for greater competitive advantage
In fact, according to Michael Bernick, former Director of California’s labor department, approximately 50 companies in the US have a workforce which is primarily made up of workers who are on the spectrum. This is in itself is a significant feat and show that people with Autism can lead meaningful lives!
Big technology companies and multinational banks are increasingly more open as well
The drive is not just found in traditional companies, but also companies on the forefront of innovation such as software giant SAP, JP Morgan Chase and Microsoft. According to a report covered on Entrepreneur, 31 workers on the spectrum were hired in a full-time capacity by Microsoft in the past 2 years. Even more encouraging is the fact that the companies have stressed on the fact that they are not doing it out of corporate responsibility, but because of genuine talents who fuel innovation from within the company.
However, some experts caution against generalization, as only 58% of people with Autism who finished high school end up holding a job, which is a much lower percentage relative to people with intellectual or learning disabilities. Moreover, even though many excel in their job functions, day to day communication and interaction with colleagues still require further improvement. Companies who hire these talents usually bring on board special consultants or advisors to guide their new employees on how to manage wealth or communicate better.
Neurodiverse candidates are increasingly being examined by companies as a potential source of innovation which they can bring on board to fuel productivity. While each and every single talent will be different, the attitude and programs set in place to embrace talents from diverse backgrounds by the various companies are very encouraging.
A more inclusive community, a more open and tolerant workforce, these are signs of a progressive society and I am greatly encouraged and heartened. What do you think?