In the latest article brought to you by Skills Development Scotland about employing neurodivergent talent, Jacob Spargo-Mabbs from the Business Disability Forum gives us his perspective on things.

More employers than ever are realising the skills that a neurodiverse workforce can bring to their business, but many are unsure how to reach out to neurodiverse talent.

One in seven adults in the UK is neurodivergent. Yet, taking autism as an example, only 16 per cent of the 700,000 adults in the UK with autism are in full time work.


Building a neurodiverse workforce starts at attraction. You will only be able to interview and assess neurodivergent candidates for roles if they apply in the first place. This means considering how you attract candidates – and equally, how you could be deterring neurodivergent applicants.

Consider whether the criteria you set for the role could actually be a barrier in itself. Could someone with different interpersonal skills do the job just as well, for example?

Also, think about how you advertise the role. Make the advert concise, easy to read, and written in plain English. Provide details of how the application process will work, along with clear timescales.


Think flexibly and creatively around recruitment process, to allow all candidates to demonstrate their strengths. This can be as simple as allowing a candidate with dyslexia more time to complete reading and writing exercises.

Some neurodivergent candidates may find it difficult to demonstrate their skills in a traditional interview setting or to participate in psychometric testing. Consider offering a work trial instead.

How can we help?

Business Disability Forum (BDF) is a leading, non-profit, business and disability membership organisation. Our 400+ members and partners represent a huge cross section of UK and global business, employing an estimated 20 per cent of the UK workforce and eight million people worldwide.

In 2020, we launched our Neurodiversity Toolkit to help our members make neurodiversity in the workplace a priority. The toolkit looks at all aspects of attraction, recruitment and retention and includes case studies from our members and partners.

We are making some of the resources freely available to all employers. To find out more about the toolkit and our work, visit the toolkit section on the Business Disability Forum Knowledge Hub

For even more information about the support available for companies to recruit neurodivergent talent, visit SDS’ employer dedicated site Our Skills Force where you will also find more case studies to inspire you.