auticon, a global IT consultancy, released its annual Impact Report illustrating how its model of social innovation is changing lives and making organisations neuro-inclusive.
As a mission-driven company, auticon works to solve the crisis of unemployment impacting autistic adults and counsels clients on the strengths of neurodiversity. auticon’s autistic team members are employed as IT consultants, numbering 265 globally in 2022, specializing in software development, data sciences, quality assurance, and cyber security.
It is estimated that less than 22% of autistic people are in any form of meaningful employment. Data from organisations like Amaze’s revealed that more than half of unemployed autistic Australians (54%) had never held a paid job, despite often possessing the skills, qualifications and a strong desire to join the workforce.
Autistic people often have cognitive strengths that make them particularly well-suited for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). However, they are faced with barriers such as a complex recruitment process, lack of support at work, poor autism awareness, and employer prejudice.
A closer look at auticon’s IT consultants reveals compelling details about the challenges many on the autism spectrum face, despite being highly qualified to work:
32% of auticon’s consultants have a Master’s degree or higher
85% had been unemployed or under-employed at the time of applying to auticon
81% agree that the work they do now at auticon matches their skills
It is estimated that 20% of people identify as neuro-divergent, meaning they have been diagnosed with a neuro-divergent condition such as autism, attention deficit disorder, dyslexia, or dyspraxia (British Medical Bulletin, 2020). While Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is high on the corporate agenda, neurodiversity is still poorly understood.
The company believes that affecting change in one life is the starting point for changing society. auticon, therefore, measures its social performance in terms of the individual impact it makes on its consultants’ lives, the organisational impact it has on its clients, and ultimately the impact of its work on society at large.
James, one of auticon’s IT consultants, shared, “the accommodations for autism are fantastic, and the social support has been invaluable. My job coaches have been helping me out the whole way which has been amazing.”
“They really help you to not get overwhelmed with client requests and work with you around client engagement. Most jobs that I have had before give you a week or two’s training then throw you out on the floor and expect you to get on with it.”
“This can be daunting and stressful, not necessarily from a performance perspective but if you don’t understand some of the unwritten social cues with colleges it can riddle you work with misunderstandings leading to unintended consequences.”
For the company’s technology clients, social innovation is very real. “It opened up a pathway for me to hire autistic talent for roles that I suspected would be better served by autistic people and the package that auticon provides around training for my team and the ongoing coaching of the consultants is key and an invaluable part of the service,” said one client in the impact survey.
68% say their perception of autism has changed
85% say their teams feel more confident working auth autistic people
85% have a greater understanding of neurodiversity as a result of working with auticon
“In the tightest employment market ever seen in Australia, we provide clients with an often over-looked source of talent and prepare their organisations to become a destination for neurodiverse talent,” added Bodo Mann Chief Executive Officer auticon Australia.
As a part of its social innovation work, the Impact Report highlights progress in multiple areas of focus, including its auticon training academy, acting as a voice against sexual violence against autistic women, and a new podcast featuring authentic voices from the autism community. In Switzerland, auticon is developing a coaching model for autistic adults who live independently despite struggling with sensory issues.
Source: auticon media release. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.