The tech sector functions as microcosm of analytical business sectors, as it highlights the benefits of hiring a neuro-diverse workforce. The industry has made concerted efforts to increase gender and ethnic diversity, and now is recognizing the potential to further initiatives to increase company performance by seeking out employees that are neurodiverse. A few examples of common neurodiversity cognitive differences are autism, ADHD, and dyslexia.
While in the past these cognitive differences were treated as a hindrance to job performance, companies are recognizing that with these variations in cognitive style also comes enhanced skills that are in high demand in the tech world. Given that tech work generally requires skills such as high attention to detail, recognition of patterns, and a high level of sustained concentration, the profession lends itself well to neurodiverse people because these exact skills are some of the enhanced strengths that often accompany the cognitive differences.
Many neurodiverse populations are also underemployed. For example, only 16% of autistic adults in the United Kingdom are estimated to be employed full-time. These statistics, combined with the general shortage of STEM skills needed to fill the growth in the tech industry, and the fact that the cognitive strengths of these people align well with the work, point to an opportunity to fill the need with people well suited for the job.
So how can the tech sector bridge this gap and place neurodiverse people with in-demand skills into jobs? Viola Sommer, COO of Auticon, and Lucy Cousins at Tech Nation argue that the hiring process is where neurodiverse potential employees tend to get weeded out, as the traditional recruitment and hiring practices are poor assessments for their skillsets. Small changes, such as altering traditional interviews to better assess a person’s strengths, and creating work environments that support the needs of neurodiverse employees, can help companies attract the people with the skillsets they need.
Through adjustments in hiring and employee work environment conditions, tech companies will be able to recruit and retain neurodiverse employees that will advance the productivity and work of the company.
To read more about how neurodiversity in tech is benefitting the industry, please visit Tech Nation.