Things are looking very positive for job seekers with autism in Australia at the moment. We recently attended Australia’s first ever Autism at Work conference, in Sydney, and it left us excited about the future.
The fact that such an event was happening is a huge step forward. The number of companies represented was even more encouraging. Beyond the typical companies that are mentioned in this space (e.g. Microsoft, SAP, DXC) more than 30 were in attendance. This is a clear sign that employers are seeing the importance of working with this group of people.
The organisers – Autism CRC and DXC – deserve a thumbs up for hosting the event in such an autism-friendly way. Attendees were sent photos of the venue in advance to help reduce anxiety. Emails were circulated which gave clear advice on what to expect, what to wear and how the event would be run. There was even a breakout room for anyone that needed to step out for a few minutes.
The event was a real eye opener for anyone interested in autism in the workplace. Here are our top takeaways from the event.
- Breadth of industries. It wasn’t all technology jobs. While technology works for some autistic people, it doesn’t work for all. At this event there were technology companies like Xceptional but also a good range of other roles from pig farming with SunPork to academic research to cyber security with ANZ.
- Led by autistic people. This event showed that the new opportunities for autistic people are driven by those impacted. Every other person I spoke with was an autistic person or had a direct family member who was impacted.
- Emerging opportunities. This was the first such event and we got the sense that most employers was just getting going. With the exception of DXC, who have been running their program for around 4 years, almost everyone else was significantly newer. This really is a brand new industry with lots of room for growth and lots for us all to learn.
It certainly underlined the fact that this is a growing space. We’re excited to be a part of it and are optimistic about the future!
Xceptional is an award winning technology services company which provides exceptional software testing services by employing autistic people. Xceptional offers services in web and mobile for business, government and non-profits. At Xceptional we recognise the unique strengths of some autistic people such as enhanced pattern recognition, sustained concentration and precision that others may have overlooked. Together, we see the world differently.