Major companies are becoming aware to the fact that people with autism may have some extraordinary talents to offer competitive industries. The talents that autism may bring are being sought after by some companies. These companies feel skills unique to autistic people may boost their bottom line.
SAP, a software company, is searching for candidates with autism for positions that require serious attention to detail. These positions include things like debugging, testing software, and assigning customer-service queries. The goal of SAP is to have one percent of its employees, or 650 people, be employees with autism by the year 2020.
Jose Velasco, head of the autism initiative at SAP in the U.S., said that there are many benefits that hiring individuals with autism will bring to the company. Velasco spoke of autistic individuals bringing a new perspective to work, and noted that this may help efficiency and creativity. He also mentioned how the structured nature that many autistic individuals have is also a benefit to companies.
Another company seeking to hire individuals with autism and the talents they may bring is Freddie Mac, U.S. mortgage lender. Freddie Mac partnered with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and is seeking to give full-time paid internships to recent graduates who are on the autism spectrum. The areas that they are looking to fill include finance, data services, and IT.
Delaware Governor Jack Markell is working to improve the rate at which individuals with disabilities get jobs. Only 20 percent of the 54 million American individuals with disabilities are either employed or looking for a job. Out of adults with autism, 85 percent are unemployed though they may want to work full-time. Governor Markell spoke of the benefits that individuals with autism bring to companies. He mentioned a regional company located in Delaware that has committed to ensuring that over the next few years 3 percent of their consultants will be on the autism spectrum because of the benefits they bring to software testing and data analysis.
Mentioning the benefits that individuals with disabilities, including autism, bring to companies, Governor Markell said, “One of the most exciting things about the last year was talking to so many businesses who have told us that they employee people with disabilities not because it’s charity, but because it’s in the best interest of their shareholders.” He noted that some of these benefits include things like less turnover, showing up to work on time, and being happy to have a job.
There are a variety of special skills that individuals with autism may be able to bring to these corporations. These include the aforementioned attention to detail, and also things like an excellent memory, resourcefulness, high levels of concentration, and detailed factual knowledge about certain subjects.
Individuals with autism may sometimes have a difficult time fitting in or adjusting at a place of employment. SAP has taken steps to try to make the transition period easier. SAP holds a month-long employee-adaptation training that is geared towards increasing the comfort level an individual with autism has when working on a team. SAP also has a mentoring system in place, and is willing to adjust schedules if needed in order to accommodate the individual with autism. The work that autistic employees are doing at companies like SAP shows that individuals with autism have talents that may be sought after by companies.
By Ashley Campbell