Could you stand the rejection?March 2, 2017
I’m not unemployable, I’m autistic
According to a survey of over 2,000 autistic adults, or people responding on their behalf:
- Under 16% are in full-time paid work
- Only 32% are in some kind of paid work (full and part time combined), compared to 47% of disabled people and 80% of non-disabled people
- Over three quarters (77%) who are unemployed say they want to work
- Four in 10 say they’ve never worked
The National Autistic Society’s three-year ‘Too Much Information’ campaign aims to increase understanding of the skills and potential of autistic people as well as the barriers they face when looking for work
More than 1 in 100 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum, including around 450,000 autistic people of working age. Being autistic means you see, hear and feel the world in a different, often more intense way from others. Autistic people often find social situations difficult, struggle to process information quickly and may be highly sensitive to sound or light or smells. This can make finding and staying in a job very difficult if managers, employers and colleagues don’t understand autism.
Not all autistic people are able to work, but, with understanding from their employer and colleagues, as well as reasonable adjustments to the interview process and workplace, many autistic people can be a real asset to businesses.
Unleashing the incredible talents and gifts that autism brings
The charity is calling for leadership from the Government to tackle the autism employment gap once and for all – by introducing specialist support to help autistic people to find and stay in work and launching a national programme to raise awareness of the skills and potential of autistic people among employers.
Max, who now has a successful job in IT, said: “I left school without any GCSEs and felt worthless, like people would think I have nothing to offer. I managed to get an interview at a phone company but it was a disaster – I didn’t know what to expect and became so overwhelmed with anxiety that I couldn’t speak. I just sat there, shaking and sweating.
“I was at rock bottom but I didn’t let it stop me and knew my family would be there for me, I went to another interview. I froze again but managed to pass across my notes to the interviewer. They were really understanding and must have seen something in me because they offered me an apprenticeship – a lifeline.
“It made such a difference knowing someone had faith in me, probably more than anyone will ever know. From that moment I’ve given everything. I think this tenacity is part of my autism and it’s paid off with me being ‘Apprentice of the Year’ and going full-time earlier this year. I always say to myself, ‘you’ll never fail, if you keep going’.”