Auticon CEO: Why I actively seek autistic employees

Auticon CEO: Why I actively seek autistic employees

According to statistics from the National Autistic Society, 84% of autistic adults are not in full-time employment; yet 77% of that statistic expresses a desire to find a job.

However, one CEO has recognised the benefits of hiring neuro-diverse teams.

Kurt Schoeffer, CEO of IT company Auticon, told the BBC about why he actively seeks to employ autistic people.

“The thing that I particularly learned in Auticon is that neuro-diverse teams can make a huge difference,” he explains. “You need to be a fighter, especially at the beginning, because you have the impression this will never work out.”

The firm specialises in hiring autistic people to work in IT.

“We had no doubt when we started that autistic people can do a tremendous job,” Schoeffer continues. “But what we underestimated is how meaningful and strong it is for the whole team when they come in.

“Certain things like communication are getting better, people are just more focused – their thinking is very different, but it always gives fruitful thoughts to others.”

The CEO of Ambitious about Autism, Jolanta Lasota, has previously spoken to us on the benefits of hiring candidates with autism: “One in 100 people in the UK have autism, meaning there is a lot of potential talent out there. It is crucial that they have the support the need to get into work.

“It has been shown that those with autism can make for loyal, diligent and hard-working employees. The clarity of vision that autism sometimes gives mean[s] that some people with autism are about the most principled and socially conscious people you’ll ever meet – [making] them a great addition to any working team.”

She advises employers to “give clear instructions and deadlines for tasks” and that “being attentive, encouraging and patient will go a long way to accommodating those with autism”.

A recent campaign by the National Autistic Society, a UK-based charity which supports autistic people and their families, also shed light on the challenges autistic candidates experience during job interviews. Their video campaign can be seen below.

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