According to the UN, 80% of autistic people worldwide are unemployed or underemployed. This means that autistic people, even those with a third-level education are not being given the opportunity to reach their full potential. Although no one autistic person is the same, many have qualities that can be valuable in the workplace, such as honesty, loyalty and attention to detail.
This clashes with article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which outlines the rights of people with disability to work on equal footing with their peers. This means recruitment free of discrimination and creating a safe, accessible workplace where they employee is supported to reach their full potential.
More organisations are coming around to this school of thought, hoping to tap into the ‘autism advantage.’ There’s still a long way to go to ensure autistic people receive equal treatment in hiring, particularly in professions outside STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.)
It’s also important to note that there’s more to supporting an autistic employee than just hiring them. This section outlines issues such as sensory environments, autism-friendly workplace communication and reasonable accommodations towards supporting autistic workers.