Microsoft-led group launches Neurodiversity Career Connector

Microsoft-led group launches Neurodiversity Career Connector
Unsplash/Jason Goodman

A Microsoft-led group has launched a new job site, called the Neurodiversity Career Connector, to put neurodivergent people in contact with companies that have committed neurodiversity hiring programmes.  

The Neurodiversity @ Work Employer Roundtable, a group of nearly 50 companies with neurodiversity hiring programmes and support systems for new employees, aims to decrease job barriers and improve neurodiversity in the workplace. 

It features job listings by US employers seeking applicants with autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and other conditions associated with neurodivergent, or atypical, brain functioning. 

“We’re trying to solve the problem where employers say they want to hire neurodivergent talent and can’t find people,” said Neil Barnett, director of accessibility and inclusive hiring at Microsoft. “And we have job seekers who say they can’t find who all these employers are.”  

According to a paper published by the National Library of Medicine, titled Neurodiversity at work: a biopsychosocial model and the impact on working adults, an estimated 15 to 20 per cent of people around the world have a neurodivergent condition.  

Susanne Bruyere, academic director of the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University, said: “Some neurodivergent people struggle with social dynamics and new environments like traditional job interviews, which highlight social skills and the ability to answer vague questions.”  

This can lead to many people failing to find employment; only 14 per cent of working-age autistic adults have a paid job in the community, according to a Drexel University study. 

“It’s important that we rethink how we screen people so we’re not discouraging or eliminating people who are neurodivergent,” said Bruyere. “This career platform is a huge signal of welcoming. It is saying: ‘We recognise this is an untapped population of talent, and we are going to minimise the barriers people may have historically experienced.’” 

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