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Under 20% of autistic adults are employed full time

Just 16 percent of autistic adults are in full time work, according to The National Autistic Society.

New research reveals that this figure has remained the same for the last decade.

The charity feels it is time to change.

The charity states: “We’re calling on the Government to tackle the Autism Employment Gap once and for all – by introducing specialist support to help autistic people find and stay in work and launching a national programme to raise employers’ awareness of the skills and potential of autistic people.

“Employers can play their part too by accessing our resources and working with us to become Autism Friendly Employers.”

They surveyed over 2,000 autistic adults, or people responding on their behalf, to ask them about their experiences of finding and keeping a job.

Findings were:

  • only 16 percent are in full-time paid work. Only 32 percent are in some kind of paid work (full and part-time combined), compared to 47 percent of disabled people and 80 percent of non-disabled people*
  • over three quarters (77 percent) who are unemployed say they want to work
  • four in ten say they’ve never worked.

On launch day, Mark Lever, our chief executive, said: “Autistic people have a huge contribution to make to our economy and society, including in the workplace. But they’ve been repeatedly failed by government and overlooked by employers.

“Various governments have introduced schemes aimed at improving the disability employment rate. But it’s not working for autistic people – just 16% are in full-time work and this hasn’t improved in almost a decade.

“Many employers tell us they’re keen to recruit more autistic people but they don’t know where to go for support and they’re worried about getting it wrong. It’s clear that we need leadership from the Government to tackle the autism employment gap once and for all.

“A national programme to make employers aware of the skills and potential of autistic people would be a good start. But this needs to be accompanied by the introduction of autism-specific support to help autistic people find and stay in work.

“Employers also have a role to play by following the growing number of companies, such as GCHQ and Microsoft, which are supporting autistic people into work through specialist recruitment programmes or work experience. “

* Both of these stats are from the Office for National Statistics (2016) Dataset: A08: Labour market status of disabled people (20 July 2016).

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