Government review calls on companies to boost support for autistic employees

A new UK Government-backed review has set out a vision for workplace culture changes to support autistic people to start and stay in work.

A new UK Government-backed review has set out a vision for workplace culture changes to support autistic people to start and stay in work.   

The Government’s Department for Work & Pensions figures show only around 30 percent of working age autistic people are in employment, compared with half of all disabled people and 8 in 10 non-disabled people – despite the majority saying they would like to be employed.

The review has set out 19 recommendations to support more autistic people to start, stay and succeed in work.

Commissioned by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride and led by Sir Robert Buckland KC, the Review’s 19 recommendations for businesses and government include:  

  • Signing up for the Autistica Neurodiversity Employers Index to access guidance on designing inclusive processes and procedures
  • Encouraging career progression by developing packages of training focused on autistic staff
  • Improving recruitment by ensuring careers advisers can provide appropriate advice to autistic jobseekers
  • Supporting autistic people who are already in the workplace by producing ‘autism design guides’ to create appropriate premises, furnishings and equipment
  • Working with software suppliers to develop IT systems that meet the needs of autistic individuals.

The Buckland Review of Autism Employment was supported by charity Autistica and includes the views of hundreds of employers and autistic people. It sets out how businesses and Government can work together over the next five years – whether that is showcasing the successes of autism employment, developing pilot programmes in national and multinational companies, or providing tailored support for autistic staff at work.  

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP, said: “I want autistic people to have every opportunity to benefit from work, and recognise that businesses and Government must come together if we are to create the cultural change needed to move the dial. 

“Backed by the extra employment support provided through our £2.5 billion Back to Work Plan, this report provides employers with practical and inexpensive steps to open up workplaces to autistic people, boost employment rates and, above all, change autistic people’s lives.”

Sir Robert Buckland KC MP added: “It has been a tremendous privilege to compile this report, and to hear from hundreds of autistic people about their experiences. This is all about them, and we couldn’t have done it without their help.

“The review can make a truly radical difference to the lives of autistic people and their families. I call on employers and government to lead this change and make these recommendations a reality.”

The Buckland Review of Autism Employment is here.

Autism charity Autistica, which supported the review, has now launched the Neurodiversity Employers Index, NDEI®, an evidence-based framework to help organisations recruit and support neurodivergent employees and become leading neurodiversity-friendly employers. More information can be found here.

Read the Empower Up primer on Disability & Neurodiversity in the Workplace here.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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