Published Date: 04/21/2014
By Reneé Watkins
A group of individuals who historically have been overlooked for job openings is beginning to get noticed, and in a big way. Large companies such as technology titan SAP and the mortgage lending firm Freddie Mac are actively seeking and hiring candidates with autism.
Individuals with autism are found to be extremely detail-oriented and excellent at problem solving. Research conducted by Simon Baron Cohen of Cambridge University concluded that subjects participating in the study with autism had a heightened ability to concentrate on detailed sets of tasks that required precision to execute.
Until recently, candidates with autism found it very difficult to find employment. Many employers today tend to base hiring decisions far less on technical skills and far more on corporate culture fit, which can be challenging for applicants with autism. These same traits are now causing employers to see autism as a plus rather than a minus in the workplace. Instead of being considered “disabled” by some, candidates with autism are being considered as “abled differently” and are in many ways more qualified for some roles due largely to their autism.
Simon Baron Cohen’s research goes on to state that his conclusions do not imply that every talented computer engineer is autistic. Nor do his conclusions imply that every person with autism is capable of creating complex computer applications.
It does seem entirely logical, however, that companies are beginning to realize the benefits of hiring an autistic candidate when seeking an individual for a position that requires intense focus and problem solving skills. Successful collaborations of this type can prove beneficial for both parties and open doors that only a few years ago were closed.