Whilst I try to avoid sweeping statements about any groups of people, it was pleasing to read this article about why one company are actively seeking employees on the autism spectrum.
A German-owned global software company, SAP, claims that people with autism can have a unique talent for information technology. Their executive Luisa Delgado said that ”Only by employing people who think differently and spark innovation will SAP be prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st Century.” No arguments there – something we have been telling employers for a long time.
SAP employed six people with autism at its office in Bangalore, India, where they work as software testers. They found that its productivity had increased as a result of their efforts, and it now plans to take on more such staff in other countries. In fact, their aim is that by 2020, 1% of its global workforce of 65,000 employees would be people with autism.
Whilst it’s dangerous to make sweeping statements (not all people with autism will be interested in IT), it’s good to see the positive aspects of disabled people highlighted. Whilst autism can sometimes mean people can face challenges with social interaction and physical behaviour, many people with autism are highly intelligent, and can have great attention to detail. Some of our employers tell us that staff on the autism spectrum can be more productive than other staff because they do not get distracted by office gossip, preferring to be left alone to get on with the task in hand.
Every individual is different, and brings different talents with them, and it is good to be reminded that many people with autism – who may be considered “bad risks” as employees, may actually turn out to be huge assets to the company.
For more on employing disabled people, see here.