Autism has become almost a mandatory trait for tech workers who wish to score a job at multinationals, thanks to software company SAP’s program which aims at offering people with this disorder more jobs. Since disability experts have concluded that approximately 85% of people with this disorder are unemployed, enterprises have started a trend meant to integrate persons with autistic spectrum disorders into the working environment. For SAP, working with Specialisterne, a social innovator enterprise means offering hundreds of autistic staff in offices around the world in fields like software programming, testing and data qualify assurance.
For multinational companies like SAP, autism has become almost a mandatory trait for their tech workers and, according to Jose Velasco, head of the initiative, “they bring abilities we may not have.” SAP human resources chief Luisa Delgado stated that the company will “be prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st century” only by welcoming innovative people. Such a unique trait walks hand in hand with autistic characteristics like displaying analytical and highly focused behavior. SAP issued a statement in which it welcomes talented people with this disorder into the company.
MIT director of autism technology Doctor Rosalind Picard stated that “the challenge for a lot of people is social interaction,” but apart from the lack of eye contact and face-to-face interaction, people with autistic spectrum disorder are as potent as other people in the workforce. Although SAP previously mentioned that the roles offered to people suffering from this disorder include identifying software glitches and directing customer-service demands to the troubleshoot team members, people with autism are also needed for video production, especially if the autistic applicant has experience in media arts. Currently, one such worker is part of “talent marketing” and SAP’s plans for the next six years are to employ around 650 people with autism, or up to one percent.
SAP already implemented the program in India, where it collaborated with Specialisterne in order to hire six autistic software testers, therefore enhance the company’s productivity. The enterprise used the same plan for Ireland to hire five such workers and will begin the global expansion in Canada, the United States and Germany this year.
Autism has become almost a mandatory trait for tech workers and SAP wishes to offer people with this disorder roles like writing manuals to detail clients on the software installations. Gregory Yates, co-founder of the Autism, Asperger Syndrome Coalition for Education, Networking and Development stated that, although people on the spectrum must be trained differently, SAP believes that they represent a sound advantage for the company.
People who suffer from this disorder may have impaired social abilities, but even if this is usually seen as a disadvantage in a working environment, those with low-level autistic disorder like Asperger syndrome can function well in a work setting. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft is believed to suffer from Asperger syndrome, but this disorder has gained popularity among headhunters, thanks to the characteristics that walk hand in hand with the condition. SAP is not the first company to start hiring people with autism, but this trait which has almost become mandatory for tech workers is now part of a worldwide program.
By Gabriela Motroc