Smart Recruitment Pays Off


I have to share with you a story that I think is one of the most innovative and optimistic I’ve heard in a while. And I won’t take too long doing it. Promise.

It’s about a firm that wants staff with autism. Yes, you read me right. “A computer company in Denmark… has made huge strides in employing workers with autism. [It] is expecting to begin work in the UK soon.” The business – Specialisterne – was started by a Danish man whose own son has autism.

One of the staff has a form of autism called Asberger Syndrome, which gives focus and persistence, but makes social interaction difficult. Autistic people need “a quiet environment and fixed routines. Given the right conditions, they excel at technical tasks.”

I’ve got an interest in this topic. There are gender implications here. Autism is mostly a male condition. Simon Baron-Cohen calls autism a form of extreme male-brain behaviour. All males are on an autism continuum. Those interested should read his paper Is Asberger’s syndrome necessarily a disability?

“In the social world there is no great benefit to a precise eye for detail, but in the worlds of math, computing, cataloguing, music, linguistics, engineering, and science, such an eye for detail can lead to success rather than failure.”

So anyway, 10 out of 10 for lateral thinking to the Danish computer company. A classic win-win outcome for all concerned.

Perhaps they could import a bit of it to Northern Ireland. Here, recruitment policy has all the imagination of a census form.

Which it mostly is.