Autism is becoming more and more common. Folks disagree about why, but all agree we see more and more of the diagnosis. The remarkable thing about persons with autism is they can display brilliance in a wide variety of subjects. Yet, many employers resist hiring persons with autism. The employer who do hire them really appreciate them. Microsoft is one. They hired Christopher with a degree in computer science. They wanted to hire persons with a diagnosis of autism. As one of the hiring managers mentioned, persons with autism are one of the great un-tapped niches in hiring. But, Jenny Lay-Lurie herself also has an impairment. She is deaf.
Ms. Lay-Lurie helped create a different sort of hiring process, one that relies less on the traditional job interview. Job interviews are hard for persons with autism. One symptom of autism is a lack of social skills. For a orson with limited social skills, job interviews reveal little about the person. So, she helped create a hiring program that relies on team building exercises and a vetting process that lasts weeks.
Christopher was hired soon after going through that process. He was not self-concious while performing a set of tasks, rather than the traditional interview. Christopher’s manager was soon impressed with his ability to think outside the box. That is no small skill in the software world.
In April, 2017, 50 large corporations came together to determine how to bring more persons with autism into the work force. The meeting was hosted at SAP in Silicon Valley, California. SAP started its Autism at Work program five years ago and has hired some 128 persons on the spectrum since then. SAP has experienced a 90% retention rate for its employees with autism. One technique that worked for SAP was to assign a onsite mentor for each person on the spectrum. That person has provided the one-on-one coaching persons with autism need. Microsoft also employs mentors for each person on the spectrum.
See CBS news report.