DMA issues guide to boost job opps for people with autism

Mark Johnson's picture
by Mark Johnson

DMA Talent, part of the Data & Marketing Association, has published new guidance to companies in a bid to improve employment opportunities for people with autism.

The ‘DMA Talent: Autism Employer Guide’ was created using insights from NHS autism specialists, brands/employers, and autistic employees employed across creative, data and marketing roles – the UK’s first.

Autism statistics 

According to the National Autistic Society, there are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK and just 16% of autistic adults are in full-time, paid employment. Over three quarters (77%) of those who are unemployed say they want to work.

Using expert insights by NHS autism specialists, business case studies and best practice, this new guide will help employers to understand autism and its potential to diversify and expand the pool of talent available to them.

Social change needed

“Autistic people have been misunderstood and socially excluded for far too long”, said Matthew Trerise, Co-author of ‘DMA Talent: Autism Employer Guide’. 

“We must change the way we think about autism, have a lot more respect for the significant role autistic people have in society, and recognise the skills, strengths, honesty, and integrity that this exceptional group of people bring to the workplace and our community.” 

Comprehensive info

It features comprehensive guidance and recommendations on reasonable adjustments that employers can make to recruitment processes, the workplace environment, support networks and, most importantly, how to treat employees as individuals.

In general, there is limited knowledge and best practice out there on how to make the workplace environment more neurodiverse friendly, the DMA said. 

Recommendations range from making environmental adaptations such as lighting or reducing background noise, to developing clear communication processes and how to better understand employees’ working preferences.

“Neurodiverse people are an untapped resource, particularly unemployed and under-employed autistic individuals, and only one in four are currently in employment”, said Adam O'Loughlin, Head of Policy, National Police Autism Association (NPAA). 

“The causes are often complex, but include a lack of employer information, understanding and experience with autism.”

If businesses want to strive to have the best people in the right roles, it’s time to work together to encourage, support and develop the career opportunities for everyone in our community.

“There is enormous demand within the data and marketing industry, and the wider professional community, for recruitment and employment initiatives that help people with neurodevelopmental conditions to seek and maintain employment,” said Kate Burnett, General Manager of DMA Talent. 

“Our guidance is designed in such a way that whatever stage a business is on their neurodiversity journey, they can pick this up to receive expert guidance and best practice.”

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