The average person without any type of disability finds it difficult to find employment, but for those suffering from autism spectrum disorder face additional challenges. Even those with autism who do find employment are often undervalued and overqualified for the positions they hold. However there aren’t that many employment opportunities for autistic people available and rarely is the person with autism paid what they deserve.
Employers Unwilling to Hire People with Autism
Unfortunately, there are still many employers who still have reservations about hiring staff who have autism spectrum disorders. Instructors and trainers who work day to day with autistic people are working hard to change this mindset. The process won’t happen overnight however, employers are becoming very aware of the numerous benefits of working with autistic people.
Autistic people have an incredible attention to detail and often have a photographic memory that makes them incredible skilled. Aside from that they have a special affinity for finding patterns and performing repetitive and highly structured work, like in the manufacturing industry. They are open, honest and loyal making great co-workers.
The Benefits of Hiring Autistic Employees
It is everyone’s best interest to help autistic adults get jobs, the same as any other demographic in society. It saves taxpayers money, it saves families money and there are fewer subsidies that are required. Not to mention every working adult contributes to society as a whole. Some companies are embracing the chance to open up job opportunities to autistic adults. They have changed the interview process to allow the person with autism demonstrate their skills without the pressure of the interview processes. Microsoft is one of the companies willing to work with autistic adults and here is a video showing how they are creating change.
Proper training and just a little bit of accommodation can mean that autistic adults can transition easily into the workforce. This in turn reduces the dependence of otherwise healthy adults on disability payments from the government. Condemned to a life on disability payments means that not only are they suffering from autism, they are now chained into a cycle of poverty.
Unemployment and underemployment are issues faced by many adults, but the adults with autism the picture is even bleaker. According to statistics put out by the UN 3 out of every 4 adults with autism is unemployed. Another study conducted by Drexel University back in 2013 shows that just over 50% of adults with autism have ever held a job within the first eight years after high school.
This demonstrates a complete lack of vocational training or on the job coaching that allows adults with autism into the work force. There is still an element of wide spread discrimination that we can’t overlook either. All of these contribute to the startling statistics and the low employment rate for adults with autism.
There are some sectors where adults with autism can excel and thrive.
German software company SAP announced back in 2013 that it planned to hire several autistic product testers and computer programmers, as part of its plans to trigger innovation and think differently. Microsoft followed on their heels in 2014 with its own plans to recruit workers with autism. Both companies have worked with organizations outside of the government to bring in talented individuals with autism. Many tech companies have been among the first to hire people with autism and that number has grown since SAP and Microsoft first opened their doors.
Fine art requires an incredible attention to detail and it is another area in which adults with autism can excel in. Painting, potter, photography, culinary, weaving and digital arts are all areas of business that could be well provide employment opportunities for autistic people.
Large Retail Chains
There are lots of large retail chains around the world that are opening up opportunities to adults with autism. These jobs include those that allow them to handle cash and payroll systems. There are opportunities in stock taking, batching and other clerical positions.
What needs to happen is that adults with autism need to be encouraged in their areas of interest early on. Allow them to pursue the same goals and dreams as everyone else. Remove the stigma attached to autism and allow them the chance to contribute to society just like everyone else. They are no different than any other child being encouraged to find a career in a field they love.