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Employers failing to encourage reasonable adjustment requests

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The latest statistics on autistic adults in employment demonstrates that more still needs to be done to allow for reasonable adjustments in the hiring process, according to diversity consultancy, The Clear Company.

In response to a survey carried out by the National Autistic Society, which found that only 16 per cent of autistic adults are in full-time paid work, the diversity specialists have called on organisations to be more proactive in providing reasonable adjustments in the workplace in order to encourage these individuals to declare their needs up front. The consultancy added that the fact that 77 per cent of these individuals want a job demonstrates that the hiring process in many companies is still insufficient in meeting the needs of those living with such conditions. This latest survey follows similar data from the MS Society which revealed that almost one in four respondents living with MS say their employer has treated them badly as a result of their condition.

According to The Clear Company, continuing to avoid addressing this issue could be detrimental to a firm’s talent attraction potential and employee productivity, particularly given recent research from the CIPD which found that individuals with disabilities ranked more highly than any other group in the categories of ‘Brings new and innovative ideas’, ‘A great desire to develop’, ‘Good work ethic’, ‘Reliable’, and ‘Positive attitude to work’. Kate Headley, Director of The Clear Company explains: “The interview process can be hugely daunting for those living with autism and small things can mean they don’t perform to their best ability. However, these individuals can often be harbouring incredible skills that will be hugely beneficial to the organisation. By encouraging individuals to declare any adjustments they may need in the hiring process, companies can really see greater value from any recruitment activity. On top of this, they will help build their reputation as a caring employer – something that most candidates want from their future organisation. However, this is something that will need to be done with great care and it’s certainly advisable for employers to speak to an expert to ensure they are implementing the best approach to allowing for adjustments in the hiring process.

It’s also concerning that so many employers are unsure where to turn when it comes to supporting an autistic employee – according to YouGov, 60 percent of businesses are concerned about this. There are multiple places to seek advice – from government support teams to specialist consultancies – but perhaps more importantly, speaking to the individual themselves to find out how best they can be assisted in the workplace will go a long way.”

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