Autistic workers are untapped talent for IT, experts say

People with 'high-functioning' autism possess certain skills that make them an untapped pool of talent for the IT sector, according to experts

Strong memory, passion for details and ability to think visually are some of the traits that make high-functioning autistic workers currently an untapped talent pool for the IT industry, industry watchers point out.

Thorkil Sonne, founder of Danish computer company Specialisterne, hires only people with autism, specifically from the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum. His experience with them has demonstrated that these special-needs people not only have a robust memory and attention for details, they take pride in what they do, have perseverance for repetitive tasks and are "very precise in their way of communication".

"High-functioning" autism typically refers to those that are able to live relatively independent lives compared to others who may demonstrate associated learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. Rather than simply place them in jobs that might not be a good fit, Specialisterne assesses every individual's skills, identifies what would make them feel wanted in the workplace and helps them excel, Sonne told ZDNet UK's sister site ZDNet Asia in his email. "We try to find [specific] tasks in the business arena in which the [above-mentioned] characteristics are important in order to do a great job," he explained.

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see Autistic workers an 'untapped pool' of IT talent on ZDNet Asia.

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