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UK Government launch Autistic Employment Review

Young multi-cultural group of people sitting around a desk in an office workplace.

The government has begun an autism employment review to better understand the challenges that many autistic persons confront in obtaining and maintaining employment. 

The review, led by Sir Robert Buckland, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism & Conservative MP for South Swindon, will look at how the government might collaborate with employers to help more autistic people acquire jobs.

Autistic Employment Review – What are the challenges?

Blue background with two hands clasping each other, wearing Autism Awareness bracelets.

It will investigate how companies recognise and support autistic employees, working practises or projects that could eliminate stigma and improve the productivity of autistic employees, and what could be done to prepare autistic people to enter or return to the workforce.

It will also investigate how organisations might profit from having a neurodiverse workforce,  as well as how adjustments and programmes that aid autistics persons also benefit others with ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

According to Buckland, eliminating the autism job gap would give both individual fulfilment and an economic productivity benefit.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, less than three out of every ten autistic adults in the UK are employed.

Eliminating the Autistic Job Gap

Empty office with sun coming in through the window.

“We know autistic people might face hurdles moving into and remaining in employment,” said Tom Pursglove, minister for disabled persons, health, and work. This is frequently due to businesses lacking the necessary tools to support autistic employees or failing to recognise the benefits of a neurodiverse workforce.

“By ensuring that more employers provide truly inclusive workplaces, we will be able to remove these barriers and assist more autistic people start, stay, and succeed in work.” I’m looking forward to seeing the review’s suggestions.”

 “The benefits for autistic people and society will be enormous if we can provide autistic people the opportunity to work and thrive in employment,” said Dr. James Cusack, chief executive of the UK autism research and campaigning organisation Autistica. As a result, as a charity, we hope to see the employment rate for autistic persons double by 2030.”

We are happy to be working with the government on this critical assessment, which will allow us to go from awareness to evidence-based action.”

This will help us rethink how we approach autistic people’s access to work, and may spark a broader rethink about how we accommodate everyone in the workplace, because we all think differently and have various talents, challenges, and needs.”

Employers are sometimes hesitant to hire autistic people because of their high technical abilities attention to detail, and exceptional concentration, according to Jim Moore, employee relations expert at HR consultants Hamilton Nash.

“We are glad to see this employment assessment aimed at improving the work possibilities of people with autism,” he said, “but the devil will be in the details.”

“Employers can provide a variety of reasonable accommodations to assist an employee with autism.” Options could include putting screens surrounding desks, using noise-cancelling headphones or working in a quiet environment. It might even be as simple as assigning them an office mentor to guide and advise them, or more complex as allowing individuals to focus on specific individual task instead of expecting multi-tasking.

While considering a problem, consider how autism affects a specific individual, as well as whether other acceptable adjustments may be made to address the issue and support the employee.

The autism employment review’s recommendations are likely to be released in the Autumn.

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