Stefan Ries: Many individuals with autism spectrum disorders are well-educated and have valuable skills to contribute in the workplace. 85% of people diagnosed with autism are unemployed. Many people who are employed are under-employed or partially employed, according to the National Autistic Society UK. Combined, this represents a significant untapped talent pool.
Autism at Work is designed to remove barriers that many individuals with autism face when entering the corporate world. With SAP’s Autism at Work, we hire skilled colleagues “in spite of autism and because of autism,” bringing different and more diverse perspectives to the creative process. The approach promotes an inclusive work environment that considers the specific needs and skills of each employee – since employee diversity helps us get a better understanding of our customers, develop innovative solutions, and stay competitive in a global economy. Within SAP, the roles occupied by people with autism span human resources, marketing, finance, software development, and customer support, and range from task-oriented jobs supporting business operations to more complex jobs in creative areas like software development.
The program taps into an underutilized talent source, reducing barriers of entry so qualified individuals can fully develop their potential.