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Companies Failing To Recruit Neurodiverse Candidates Despite Benefits, Report Finds

Despite neurodiverse people bringing in-demand perspectives to the technology sector, companies are failing to recruit or retain them

By  Laura Wise

Fri Feb 24 2023

Companies are failing to recruit neurodiverse candidates to their digital teams despite their fresh and innovative perspectives, says a new report

The study, conducted by Sparta Global, a leading hire-train-deploy company specializing in emerging business and technology talent, surveyed 500 senior and C-suite individuals working in organizations across almost every sector. 

Sparta Global’s EqualTech report, released today, shows that hiring and retaining neurodivergent employees would help close the digital skills gap in the UK, a significant challenge for UK employers and the wider economy.

The benefits of hiring neurodivergent people

Neurodiversity refers to diversity in the human brain and cognition, such as sociability, learning, attention, mood, and other mental functions. Conditions such as ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia, and Dyslexia all fall under the neurodivergent umbrella. 

The EqualTech report found that companies with neuro-inclusive digital teams are more likely to have a competitive advantage across areas such as computational thinking, observation, adaptability, and intuition.

“With the UK government reporting that we could face a shortage of 900,000 skilled IT workers by next year, an empowered neurodiverse community presents perspectives and skills that could be transformative,” said Sparta Global CEO David Rai. 

While 87% of digital leaders surveyed believe that neurodiversity will be a top priority for their companies in 2023, only 21% of respondents work for businesses who tailor their recruitment practices to neurodivergent candidates. 

The report found the Covid-19 pandemic was a catalyst for companies’ awareness of neurodivergent digital teams, with 54% of respondents stating the pandemic accelerated conversations around a commitment to neurodiversity. 

Retaining neurodivergent employees

As well as problems with hiring, the report also found a problem with retaining neurodivergent employees once hired. 

A total of 59% of neurodivergent workers who were surveyed felt there wasn’t enough support available at their organization and were fearful that revealing their neurodiversity to their employers would negatively affect their future with the company. 

In fact, 83% reported feeling worried, nervous, and fearful about having conversations with their employer about their neurodiversity. 

“I was shocked to see how few businesses have practically adapted their hiring strategies to support neurodiverse applicants," David said.

“I hope employers, educators, and those outside of our established network can glean as much insight, knowledge, and practical advice from this report as I have." 

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