DMA release guide to promote employment among autistic people
Using insight from NHS autism specialists and autistic employees themselves, the guide aims to offer support to businesses, helping them understand autism and its potential to diversify and expand their pool of employee talent.
According to the National Autistic Society, there are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK.
Of these 700,000, only 16 per cent are in full-time, paid employment. Despite this low rate of employment, the NAS found that 77 per cent of unemployed autistic people wanted to work.
In order to help end this disparity, the guide features comprehensive advice and recommendations on reasonable adjustments that employers can make to recruitment processes, support networks and most importantly, how to treat employees as individuals.
These recommendations include environmental adaptations, such as lighting or reducing background noise, and developing clear communication processes.
Matthew Trerise, the co-author of the guide, said: “Autistic people have been misunderstood and socially excluded for far too long. We must change the way we think about autism, have a lot more respect for the significant role autistic people have in society, and recognise the skills, strength, honesty and integrity that this exceptional group of people bring to the workplace and our community.”
This sentiment was echoed by Dame Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham and Chair of the APPG on Autism. She told The Parliamentary Review: “I welcome the publication of DMA Talent’s guide for businesses to promote more autistic people into the workplace.
“The All-Party Parliamentary Group, which I chair, has this month released its report into the Autism Act, where we found that employers do want to do more to recruit, train, employ and promote autistic people but lack the knowledge of what people with autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions can bring to the workplace, and also the confidence, to do so.
"Unemployment and underemployment can have a devastating impact to the lives of autistic people, so I am delighted that DMA have taken the initiative to publish recommendations and guidance to help businesses recognise autistic people’s potential and encourage them to build a more neurodiverse workforce.”