Auticon, a German-based information technology consulting company, is extending its diversification hiring policy into Columbus, Ohio, where it is setting up its regional headquarters. The company exclusively employs adults on the autism spectrum as IT consultants.
“There’s a skills shortage in this area,” said David Aspinall, Auticon’s CEO in the U.S. “We can bring to bear talent that does have a performance advantage and, at the same time, help people.”
With 15 offices around the world, including in Europe, Canada and the United States, Auticon has more than 220 IT consultants on the autism spectrum in their workforce.
Kerry Margo, a member of the National Autism Association‘s board of directors and who also has autism, said several studies reveal that the unemployment and under-employment rate for those with autism is 80% to 90%.
This despite the fact that about one-third of those with autism have a college degree.
Many businesses think that hiring people on the autism spectrum costs them too much money. Magro, who is a full-time public speaker, aims to educate companies and their human resources departments that this is simply not true. Workers with autism are less likely to ask for time off and more likely to stay at a company longer, he said.
Job seekers often don’t feel comfortable disclosing that they have autism during the interview process, for fear of discrimination. Magro added that many find the actual interview overwhelming and that a daylong tryout to demonstrate their skills and performance can be a better option.
Auticon calls itself a for-profit organization that utilizes the principles of business to help conquer society’s challenges. Aspinall said, “We basically exist to effect positive change on that underemployment rate.”
The company aims to hire workers on the autism spectrum with
various levels of experience.
“[We are] an organization has that has an appreciation for inclusion,” said Aspinall.