Ahead of World Autism Awareness Day (2 April), Lovell’s Tim Young explains why more construction employers should consider the benefits of working with neurodivergent people
I want to take this moment, in this brief article, to discuss why many companies are missing out on some incredible potential employees. This is particularly frustrating as our industry needs more dedicated, skilled people.
Without realising it, many companies and industry leaders are putting up barriers to employment for people with autism. In some organisations, such as JP Morgan Chase and Microsoft, they actively encourage people with autism into their teams. One even boasts a 99% retention rate of people with autism. What we would give for that in the construction sector.
I have autism. I also have a degree in procurement. I have won awards, been nominated for others and, more importantly, I have raised a ton of money for charity over the years. I have personality!
None of which would have been possible without some of the unique behaviours and skills that autism has given me. However, if it wasn’t for being placed in employment through the New Deal scheme [a government programme aimed at encouraging people into work] back in the 1990s, I doubt any of the afore mentioned would have ever happened. I got lucky.
People with autism, like I experienced, find that first step the hardest. Autism effects communication and sensory feelings. In the main, for a person with autism, applying for and subsequently getting an interview for a job is incredibly difficult. It is this step that we as employers could easily change and encourage more people into employment. From there, we need to be more autism aware in our businesses. We need to do more.
My brief Autism Awareness presentation is the first step to helping businesses to be more aware of what autism is and how they can make a positive difference to people, whilst gaining all the benefits of working with neurodivergent people.
The CIOB Academy webinar is free to access: Autism Awareness – CIOB Academy
Tim Young is regional procurement manager at Lovell