Embracing neurodiversity in business

Richard Branson sitting down looking pensive
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 2 September 2021

More than ever, we need new perspectives, different ideas and broader ways of thinking to solve the big problems of our time.

This is where a neurodiverse workforce can really benefit a business. Many businesses have caught on to the benefits of inclusion, but there are still lots of opportunities for thinking bigger and embracing different ways of thinking.

It’s the reason we proudly support auticon, a majority-autistic technology consulting firm, that employs over 200 autistic adults working for clients in software development, coding, data analysis, Salesforce development, and quality assurance. We invested in auticon back in 2016 and I’m proud that Virgin Money and Virgin Management are among its clients.

Many people on the autism spectrum excel in areas such as logic, technology skills, problem-solving, pattern recognition, precision, sustained concentration, analysis and other unique cognitive functions. Yet people on the autism spectrum are often overlooked for jobs that they might be brilliant at. auticon’s average autistic team member was unemployed for 22 months prior to joining auticon.

The company has just released its 2021 Global Impact Report, showing how employment can help benefit the lives of autistic adults by improving their confidence, skill set and giving them autonomy over their lives. Their study, conducted by social impact specialists Aleron, found 75% of their autistic technology consultants said their self-confidence had improved at auticon and 82% saw an improvement in their wellbeing.

It’s also brilliant to see auticon expanding its footprint around the world. From Germany to France to Australia – it now operates in eight countries, including the UK.

What really stuck out to me in the report was the moving interviews from the people who work at auticon. Laura R, an IT Consultant, said: “I finally feel safe at work. I don’t have to worry about the social aspects of work. I’m less tired, and I can focus on my job.”

Enzo D, QA Analyst said: “They knew what I was struggling with…auticon has given me the tools to improve and excel as a professional programmer and as a human being.”

I think their experiences really show how hiring a neurodiverse team can benefit your business – and the lives of people who may think a little differently to you. It’s also a reminder to all of us to search for the things that unite us in our common humanity, rather than the things that divide us.

Head over to auticon.com to find out more about the team and their brilliant work.