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To learn employers’ perspectives on hiring individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), researchers surveyed and interviewed employers in a variety of industries who participated in Employment Works Canada. This 12-week employment preparedness program sought to provide employment goals and workplace experience opportunities for youth and young adults with ASD. It also provided potential employers with education about ASD in the workplace, encouraged them to develop inclusion strategies, and helped them build relationships with job seekers who have ASD.
Research findings indicate a limited understanding of ASD among many employers and employees, which may translate to little knowledge about the needs of individuals with ASD in the workplace. Employers who completed the program suggested ways to enhance and increase the employment of individuals with ASD.
- 44% of employers, approximately, reported their organizations had inclusive hiring strategies. The remainder were unsure or said their organization didn’t.
- 7% of employers said they had specific strategies for hiring people with ASD.
- 55.6% were uncertain as to whether individuals with ASD wanted to be employed.
- 88% of employers indicated that the program increased their likelihood of hiring someone with ASD.
- The majority of employers implemented either no or minimal accommodations for employees with ASD.
Put It Into Practice
Tips and tools to help you apply best practices at work.
- Offer ASD education and awareness training to employers and their staff.
- Train supervisors to increase intra-organizational knowledge about ASD in the workplace.
- Implement volunteer or internship trials and permit short-term onsite job coaches.
- Offer modified interview policies and adapt work scheduling.
- Increase training for new roles and integrate assistive technology.
More About the Research
Approximately 82 employers in the Employment Works Canada program completed an ASD awareness questionnaire, 29 employers completed a post program survey, and 11 employers were interviewed to gain their perspectives of the employment of individuals with ASD.
Nicholas, D., Mitchell, W., Zulla, R., & Dudley, C. (2019). Perspectives of employers about hiring individuals with autism spectrum disorder: Evaluating a cohort of employers engaged in a job-readiness initiative. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 50 (3), 353-364.