A survey by the University of New Hampshire, completed in October of this year, showed that while 60% of organizations questioned had diversity hiring goals in place, only 28% had goals for disability hiring.
Why are there not more businesses working proactively to hire individuals with disabilities in general, and autism specifically?
1. Many businesses don’t know where to start. Only 27% of businesses surveyed by UNH partnered with organizations that specialize in recruiting and hiring individuals with disabilities. This is especially significant when it comes to individuals with autism, as many people with autism are unable to navigate traditional hiring systems.
2. Oftentimes businesses don’t have the support. According to a YouGov survey completed in June of 2016, 60% of employers stated that they worry about getting it “wrong” if asked to support autistic employees. 60% stated that they didn’t know where to go for advice or recommendations. This can lead employers to avoid problems before they occur, and not hire individuals with autism to begin with.
So, what can we learn from these surveys? The most obvious answer is to not go at it alone. Organizations such as Mind Shift exist to help not only the employee with autism navigate the tricky world of recruiting, hiring, and long-term employment. These organizations are also in place to support the managers and supervisors who may fear saying the wrong thing.
A popular African saying is “if you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.” We’ve come so far already in our desire to find meaningful careers for our loved ones with autism. But we can go farther if we go together.