Many people with autism want to work, but companies often lack the knowledge to build and manage an inclusive workforce.
A conservative estimate is that approximately 50,000 to 60,000 autistic people turn 18 each year. They graduate from high school and are ready for college and careers, but four in 10 adults with autism never work for pay between high school and their early 20s.
“It’s easy to assume generalities about people with disabilities, as most autistic people are good with computers and don’t like conversing with others,” said Melissa Skaggs, owner of The Hive. “One of our employees frequently reveals to customers that he has autism and likes to chat with new people who come to our café. Another autistic employee stays in the kitchen almost 100% of the time and rarely goes outside the house, even to serve plates.Our employees are placed based on their personalities rather than their diagnoses.
Talent, creativity and craftsmanship abound in people with autism, and countless industries await their contributions and innovations. The options stretch, from accounting and the arts to factories and catering.
It’s time to change society’s perception of how companies can seamlessly employ and integrate people with autism into their workplaces and raise awareness that people with autism can be valuable productive employees in all industries. .
Jobs for all skill levels and levels of creativity
There are many companies and businesses for people with autism that could be valuable resources. But, like everyone else, it’s about discovering everyone’s talent and supporting their efforts to surpass themselves.
“I think it starts with learning the passion of being a neurodivergent person,” said Ryan Casey, executive director of ClearWave Careers. “It doesn’t have to be an exact match, but at least a close match. For example, if you have someone who likes to edit videos, even if they work in a restaurant, see if that person could help you with the restaurant’s TikTok and Instagram. and upload videos a few hours a week.”
Here are some of the career areas we’ll be exploring in the coming weeks:
- Arts: Hands-on physical arts work that would be suitable for people with autism includes house painting, 2D and 3D arts, framing, pottery/ceramist, printmaking, woodworking, acting, and performing instrumental music and vocal. Digital arts opportunities include graphic design, animation, visual effects, photography, architecture, illustration, and CAD design.
- The science sector: Positions such as research assistant, reference librarian, genealogist, pharmacy technician, university researcher, laboratory technician or scientist could correspond to those on the spectrum. Analytical skills and following procedures are essential for jobs in science, and people with autism can enjoy an environment where these traits are highly valued.
- Journalism: Whether it’s an article researcher, writer, fact checker, technical writer, or journalist, there’s room for those on the spectrum. to pursue this area. The solitary and independent nature of the work could add to the appeal of these types of jobs, as journalism generally allows people to set their own pace.
- Production line: Leveraging the skills some possess for routine and repetitive actions, employees with autism can thrive as assembly line workers in manufacturing companies, automobile factories, electronics factories, computer factories, recycling plants or roles such as parcel handler, loading supervisor and mail processor.
- Food Service and Beverage Industry: Any role in a commercial kitchen could be suitable, including culinary arts chef, baker, or support roles like prep cook, line cook, sous chef, dishwasher, or server. Additionally, as the microbrewery and microdistillation industries grow, there is room for shift brewers, production brewery, and distillery workers in local and national operations. The food and beverage industries need people of all skill levels to be efficient so adults with autism can find their niche.
- Fashion and distribution: Those on the spectrum could be designers, pattern makers, launderers and dry cleaners, window dressers, pressers, cutters or garment workers. The fashion and retail industries have room for people with diverse skill sets. These industries are as much about what happens behind the scenes as what is on display. There is incredible potential for autism-specific innovations, such as creating sensory clothing for certain people on the spectrum.
- Accounting and finance: Recognizing patterns and having a long attention span are huge advantages when working with financial information. Possible roles include a CPA, tax preparer, actuary, investment analyst, accountant, billing specialist, or accounts payable clerk.
- Hospitals: Depending on their skill level, people on the spectrum could become doctors or nurses, work in administrative positions, or be janitors. Hospital jobs can straddle IT, accounting/finance, and maintaining medical records for a doctor’s office or surgery center.
- Computer science: People with autism spectrum disorders can be incredibly skilled as network engineers, web developers, web designers, software engineers and database administrators – logical minds and good problem solvers of all kinds and highly valued in the computer world.
- Agriculture/Animal Science: Some members of the spectrum have a unique understanding of animals and may have an easier time relating to animals. This could benefit roles such as vet tech, groomer, dog walker, trainer, equine trainer, zookeeper, livestock trainer, or animal keeper.
Why Hire Neurodiverse Employees
“Want fewer no-shows and more registered applications?” asks Skaggs. “Open up your hiring policy to include neurodiversity. People with different abilities are grateful to be employed.”
There are many reasons to consider hiring neurodiverse people. For example, a 2018 study by Accenture, AAPD, and Disability found that of the companies they researched that hired people on the spectrum, they achieved, on average, 28% higher revenue, the double the net income and a 30% higher economic profit. margins compared to other companies in the same sample.
“It would be easy to meet employment needs by tapping into this underappreciated talent pool,” Casey said. “All you would need to do is some basic training to at least start this process. Neurodivergent can bring a new perspective and innovation. Think of what Einstein, Tesla and Turing – people who were considered neurodivergents – and the value they have brought to the world. Your organization will be ‘a cut above’ in both intelligence and perspective.'”
The Harvard Business Review supports hiring people with autism as a competitive advantage. They say the results include increased morale, improved products and services, higher productivity and ultimately increased bottom line.
As Skaggs adds, it also feels good to be inclusive.
“The inclusion of neurodiversity creates opportunities for a sense of humility — and a sort of ‘I’m fine, you’re fine, we’re all fine’ type of mentality, as well as vulnerability,” she said. declared. “Ask a great HR manager, and that’s the holy grail for team building!”