German Firm Seeks To Recruit Autistics

The multinational software firm SAP announced today that hundreds of people with autism would be recruited to work in the firm. Their capacity to focus and spot problems is of particular interest to the firm's managers.

Around one per cent of the world’s population has autism, and the firm said that it is seeking to mirror this percentage in its 65,000-strong global workforce. SAP spokesman Hilmar Schepp said: “What we saw [in the pilots] is that people with autism have fantastic strengths in IT-related matters, software development, testing and quality assurance. We found that they can focus on specific topics and are really eager to find mistakes.”

The German software firm ensured that each of its autistic employees had a nominated colleague to be a single point of contact. “They need this trusted person to make it through the day,” Mr Schepp said. “They need a single person who can help them, and to be safe in their environment.”

SAP’s recruitment drive, which will begin this year in the US, Canada and Germany, is the biggest announcement to date in a trend for IT firms to hire workers with autism.

In her 2003 novel Speed of Dark, sf author Elizabeth Moon writes (from the first person) about the experience of an autistic process analyst who works for a large company that hires many autistic employees. I haven't read the novel (it's now on my list!), so I don't have a good quote.

Via Telegraph. Thanks to S. Sabo for the heads-up on this story, and the references.

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