Can an Autistic Labor Force Close the Tech-Talent Gap?
Being a tech company used to mean that the company was involved in either the development or the manufacturing of technology. But today, technology has become essential for every business looking to reduce manual labors, improve efficiency, and compete on a global scale. This means that technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), big data and analytics, and cloud computing are becoming essential parts of every company. To stay on top of the game, a lot of tech talent is required. Unfortunately, there is an ever-growing tech-talent gap and the lack of a qualified workforce is a problem to tackle in the coming years.
How can this tech-talent gap be filled? While outsourcing to economically disadvantaged countried lowers costs for some companies, there is also a largely unexplored labor force that holds a lot of potential: people on the autism spectrum.
Some cognitive strengths found beneficial in technology tend to be prevalent in the autism community:
- Distinctive logical and analytical abilities
- Sustained concentration and perseverance even when tasks are repetitive
- An exceptional eye for detail and potential errors
- A strong interest in factual matters and comprehensive technical expertise
- Thorough target versus actual comparisons, and a genuine awareness for quality
- Abilities in computer science, engineering, and data processing
With such skills, it is not surprising that many autistic people are getting their qualifications in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
With masses of data, an autistic person tends to find it easier to remain equally concentrated over a long period of time. This means a high potential, not only for every employer but especially for the IT industry. The problem here is that this potential is not used. In the U.S., the vast majority of adults with autism are either unemployed or underemployed, with estimates ranging to as high as 90%.
A study in Germany found that despite largely high formal qualifications most of the autistic adults represented in the sample are disadvantaged regarding their participation in the German labor market, especially with respect to rates of unemployment, early retirement and overeducation.
So why aren’t people on the autism spectrum hired to fill the tech-talent gap, even if they are highly qualified and educated?
Some autistic people have special needs that require attention. Some are sensitive to noise or light, some others are reluctant to interact with other people. For example, an individual on the spectrum might have troubles with the social presentation of a job interview, even with a good CV to impress. Or a person with autism might not want to shake hands or make eye contact with other people. But if these needs are taken care of, the global tech-talent gap can be addressed in this way.
While 65% of CIO’s surveyed by KPMG show hiring challenges are hurting the IT industry, auticon’s talented autistic workforce is the ideal solution for the tech-talent gap. auticon exclusively employs people on the autism spectrum as IT consultants- Qualified individuals that have been unemployed for up to ten years are now finding careers as data/business analysts, -automation enginners and full-stack developers. Our team is neurodiverse, which means there are differences in brain function and behavioural traits regarded as part of a normal, naturally occurring variation of the human genome. Our approach to providing information technology services is being enhanced through diverse thinking.
About the Author
David Reeve is Global Chief Marketing Officer for auticon. David is a 20-year veteran of digital marketing, corporate communications, design, and brand development. His career experience draws from many sectors, including IT staffing, SaaS, aerospace, entertainment, and advertising; from start-ups to high-profile corporations such as Universal Pictures.