German Software Firm Wants To Hire People With Autism

SAP is recruiting people who "think differently and spark innovation."

People on the autistic spectrum are increasingly being seen as a business asset. The latest firm to think so is German business software giant SAP, which has announced it is recruiting people with the condition. The aim is for 1% of the firm's 64,000 employee be people who "think differently and spark innovation," says Luisa Delgado, one of the firm's directors.

Technology and autism have long gone hand in hand—one project uses iPads to help teens with varying degrees of learning disabilities make music. There are laptops for children with the condition, and a recent hacking event in Canada featured a simulator for the hypersensitivity experienced by a youngster on the spectrum.

The movement to bring men and women with low-level autistic spectrum disorders into the workplace isn't a new one—Texas firm Alliance Data announced a similar scheme last month. Auticon, a Berlin-based employment agency, fills IT-related posts with suitable candidates, and SAP's pilot scheme in Bangalore, which preceded yesterday's announcement, was implemented by a Danish firm, Specialisterne.

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3 Comments

  • Glacierich

    Great idea...but is it really new? There must be tens of thousands of companies employing people at the low end of the spectrum. I consider myself to be included in this group. What's needed is for their 'different' ideas to be received like anyone else's and not consigned to the off-message ramblings drawer.Their ideas should be scrutinised like anyone else's.
    Taking my thoughts a little further, are we just talking about the big corporate's who silo their employees roles. If you don't fit the corporate model at the interview you fail in your bid for the job. Small companies are less rigid so by default, do they employ more low-end autistic types? 

  • C Brown

    I see your points, and agree that the ideas should be fully hashed out- the point is, the ideas are actually being put out there. Big business is a rough prospect for a group of folks that have a hard time in any social environment, and they've only recently (in the last 10-20 years or so) stopped being automatically institutionalized! So no, it's not about the ideas just being paid attention to. Most autistics have never even had a chance to present their ideas, much less for them to be implemented! This is a HUGE step towards autism awareness- in educating themselves on what what the strengths and weaknesses are of these potentially phenomenal employees (under the right circumstances), they're accepting that different is not always wrong, and that social graces aren't everything. In addition, by making it public knowledge that his trend is happening, they're reducing the stigma of being autistic. There is always a different perspective to be had- you just have to ask the right source. It's about time!!!