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How to Choose the Right Job for People with Autism

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How to Choose the Right Job for People with Autism

One of the upcoming trends in workforce hiring is tapping into the vast untapped potential of people with autism. Indeed, in the last few years, major corporations like Microsoft and JP Morgan Chase have set up dedicated recruitment teams to find the best talent with autism to drive their organizations to new levels. The word untapped makes sense as it’s estimated that in British Columbia alone, there are at least 40,000 individuals with autism who are either unemployed or in work that doesn’t make use of their unique skills and talents.

Possible skills sets of people on the autism spectrum

There is an old saying about autism: “when you’ve met one person on the autism spectrum, you’ve met one person on the autism spectrum”. This truth is vital for all potential autism friendly employers to remember, but there are some common skill sets that make people with autism valuable employees:

  • Visual thinkers – many people with autism have strong visual senses, and their tendency to fall back on concrete mental imagery helps them have a keen eye for details. This, combined with a high aptitude for focus, makes them well suited for intricate work.
  • Fact oriented – people with autism often approach the world with a very logical viewpoint which makes them excel at research based work and jobs where being methodical and fact based are essential.
  • Highly technical – the detail oriented nature of autism also makes individuals on the autism spectrum have a high technical aptitude, and given the right training and opportunities will be able to learn entire systems and programs. This whole system vision allows them to look for bugs and efficiencies
  • Animal work – people with autism can also have a high aptitude for working with animals. Many researchers believe this is because of the predictability of animal behavior, and that animals share many of the social traits of people with autism – avoidance of eye contact, a dislike for loud noises and overly stimulating environments.

The important thing to remember is the above list is only an outline, and when autism employment agencies are trying to choose the right job for people with autism, they always get to know the person individually to make the best fit.

Potential careers for people with ASD

The stigma and misconceptions surrounding autism are a large part of the reason for the dramatic underemployment of people with autism. However, as can be seen from the above list, there are plenty of skills and talents that people with autism can bring to the workforce. Some of the possible jobs that make use of these traits include:

  • Computer programmer – the world is quickly moving into a digital information era, meaning there are more and more jobs surrounding programming than ever before. People with autism may find a niche in software testing and development that makes use of their high attention to details.
  • Accountant – it’s often said that numbers don’t lie, and the sheer number of rules and patterns that are involved in corporate and personal accounting make it a great career path for people with autism.
  • Creative arts – there are many fields that will make use of the visual processing and out of the box thinking that is common in many people with autism. This could be an animator or illustrator in the entertainment field, or drawing and designing buildings and structures for an architecture firm.
  • Animal science – a job in animal science could combine a love of animals with an enjoyment in research and facts. This could also be a more hands on role like vet tech, groomer or obedience trainer, but could also be more theoretical research into animal behavior patterns.

No matter what job a person with autism chooses to take, it also requires an autism friendly employer to make the placement be a true success. Being an autism friendly workplace includes training all staff on the truths about autism, creating a less stimulating working environment and ensuring all communication is clear and concrete. Many autism friendly employers find that the changes that they make to their organization to hire an individual with autism also boost staff relationships and productivity, making the hiring process a winning situation for everyone.