Autistic Workplace/Employment Performance

H2 2017

Editors Note

This newsletter is designed to highlight and analyse autistic workplace/employment performance during H2 2017. In preparing this document, we have included only announcements made/information disclosed during H2 related to autistic employment numbers. As such, while there are a number of major employers which have previously implemented autistic employment programmes such as SAP(Germany), Freddie Mac(US), Towers Watson (US), Home Depot (US),  Symantec (US), HPEnterprises/DXC  Technology (Australia) and Walgreens(US), we could find no disclosure of autistic employee numbers since April  2017, when the following numbers were disclosed: SAP-120 new autism hires since 2013 (out of 74,500 worldwide employees), DXC Technology – 55 autism hires since 2014 (out of 170,000 worldwide employees),  HPE -58 autism hires (out of 45,000 worldwide employees) and Microsoft -30 autism hires since 2015 (out of 124,000 worldwide employees at year end 2016)  We found no autistic hires employee count/ information/disclosure at all from Freddie Mac, Towers Watson, Symantec  during 2017 and only a disability inclusion basket, with no specific autistic data, from Walgreens.


The few numbers above that have been disclosed  do not paint a pretty picture of strong autism employment gains/jobs growth on a stand alone basis. These actually look much worse when factoring in current macroeconomic conditions -- US employment  growth has averaged in excess of 171,000 new jobs created each month during H2, while Australia has averaged over 31,000 new jobs per month over the past 12 months (ending November 2017).


We welcome all new data from any of the above companies which can lead to increased transparency for this document in the future. Hopefully such transparency can give comfort to those with autism that actual jobs growth in such companies is greater than macro economic jobs growth.


We close with a very positive story of a 6 year old German company which has shown high growth in its impressive client segment – with a growing number of autistic employees.


We welcome any/all comments from any of our readers.

Microsoft Autism Hiring Cohort- Open Periods 2017/2018 (USA)


In early October, Microsoft  announced it was hosting an Autism Hiring Cohort from October 23 through October 27 2017 and January 22 through January 26 in 2018.


The Microsoft Autism Hiring Program was launched in May 2015. Since then, Microsoft has hired an un-named number (30 as of April 2017) of autistic employees in software, service, build and lab engineers as well as data analysts and scientists, through the program. As of September 2016, “all of those hired through the new program have performed at or above expectations. None have left Microsoft.”


To assist candidates in the recruitment process, the Autism Hiring program has been substantially altered from Microsoft’s standard recruiting process to substantially reduce one to one interviews and to focus more on existing skills.



Autism@Work Employment Forum (Australia)


In September, DXC Technology announced it would host the Autism@Work Forum, Australia’s first autism employment forum, in Sydney. The forum’s goal was to highlight the benefits of workforce neurodiversity to both employers and employees. DXC is among several prominent organisations in Australia and worldwide increasingly investing in a more neurodiverse workforce;  four years ago launched its DXC Dandelion Program in Australia.


Presented by DXC and Autism CRC (the world’s first national, cooperative research effort focussed on autism), the forum was sponsored by some of Australia’s biggest corporations, including ANZ Bank (Technology), SAP (Australia), Symantec (Pacific Region), Peoplebank (Australia) and Life Without Barriers (Australia) . Following from the successful Autism at Work Summit in the USA (April 2017), the event was held in association with the Asia Pacific Autism Conference 2017 (see below). The Autism@Work Forum included a keynote presentation from Professor Susanne Bruyère, Director of the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University.


 Asia Pacific Autism Conference  (Australia)


In September, the Asia Pacific Autism Conference 2017 (APAC 17) was held in Sydney. The Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders convened the forum ,  while the host organisation was Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect). 'Growing with autism' was the conference theme, reflecting the shift in autism research and practice to look beyond the early childhood and school years and focus on the whole lifespan for people on the spectrum. There were more than fifteen keynote speakers at APAC 17 including Dr Peter Vermeulen from Belgium and Dr Barry Prizant, Professor Samuel Odom and Associate Professor Stephen Shore all from the USA. The keynote speakers represent many of the voices in the autism community including people on the spectrum, family members, researchers and practitioners.


Ernst & Young Steps up recruitment of disabled and autistic employees (USA)


In  December,  in a lengthy interview involving a number of EY representatives, they discussed EY’s neurodiversity programme, in particular those on the autism spectrum, such as those with high-functioning aspergers.  After a late 2016 launch EY now has 14 individuals with autism at two Neurodiverse Centers of Excellence. EY plans “to open two more Centers of Excellence a year for the next three years, with an average of 10 individuals per Center of Excellence.”


Talk on Autism Inclusion in the workplace (USA)


In late October, as part of Berkeley Lab’s efforts to increase awareness on Disability Employment Awareness Month in October, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Office and the All Access Employee Resource Group (ERG) hosted an autism awareness working session at Pers Hall. This talk covered information about the autism spectrum and the benefits of enhancing an organization’s neurodiversity; general tips for hiring managers interviewing applicants or working with colleagues on the spectrum; and success stories of companies who have participated in the Autism Advantage program. This talk also planned to discuss the benefits of the Autism Advantage program at SAP, including lessons learned.

Dandelion Program Partner Expansion (Australia)

The Dandelion Program was initially established in 2014 through a partnership between

DXC Technology Australia, Specialisterne (Denmark), and the Australian Department of Human

Services.  At launch, the pilot had only 11 ASD people involved. By March 2017 it had grown to 55 ASD  people  employed in the areas of cyber security, data analytics, and software testing, delivering to customers such as Department of Defence, the Australian Department Human Services, and Departmentof Immigration and Border Protection. Since its launch, the Dandelion Program has seen a 96% retention rate, far above what is typical for people with ASD, helping people on the spectrum to gain and retain employment, by developing their IT skills, while also developing critical technical and life skills.


In July 2017, three Australian tertiary institutes joined the DXC Dandelion Work Experience Program: The Australian National University (ANU), University of Canberra (UC) and Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) have all joined the program.



How do you solve the trickiest problems in the workplace? Employ more autistic people

 Auticon is 6 year old business, founded in Germany by Dirk Müller-Remus, a former software developer who had a son diagnosed with aspergers.  Due to the frequent constraints to  employment opportunities available to autistic people, as well as his awareness that some people with the condition have an array of traits that sets them apart from the so-called “neurotypical” majority, so he launched Auticon.


 In 2016, Auticon opened offices in London and Paris. In London, Auticon now employs 15 IT consultants, all of whom are autistic and who obtained their jobs after long periods of unemployment. As consultants, they now spend time advising large corporates such GlaxoSmithKline, credit rating agency Experian and Allianz.  In the UK,  Auticon now has plans to employ 100 consultants, and expand beyond London. We feel that this is a great story and thus one to share with a much broader audience.

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