Welcome to the latest exclusive column from Ross Tuffee, chair of SDS’s Digital Economy Skills Group where he champions the need for tech companies to embrace neurodivergent talent. 

I’ve spoken about this subject previously in my column, but I make no apologies for banging on about the importance of tapping into the massive pool of talent that exists in the form of neurodivergent individuals. More often and not, they have the ideal personal attributes and skills suited to working with digital technology.

Accuracy, attention to detail, high-level concentration, creativity, strong recall, reliability and an appreciation for routine/repetition. These are just some of the skills neurodivergent workers can offer your business.

These individuals are often really driven to work, and we know that the tech sector needs to fill a huge number of vacancies, so it should be a marriage made in heaven. But we also appreciate that it may seem, on the surface, daunting for potential employers to make the necessary changes to accommodate people that may think or act differently from what you are used to.

This is why SDS has created a one-stop shop for all the resources and advice you need to start recruiting. These resources also contain case studies from those organisations that have already started their journey to inspire and guide you, and you can also re-watch a recent webinar on the subject delivered in partnership with the CIPD, Scotland IS, the BCS and Lexxic. 

Here are my key takeaways from the great material available:

  • It will require effort and adjustments on your part, but it’s no way near as onerous as you think……..and the positives will always outweigh the negatives. 
  • Do your research. Learn and empathise, and you will see that much of what you need to do is really common sense, and will ultimately benefit all your new recruits, not just those that are neurodivergent. 
  • Involve people that have the experience, and don’t make assumptions.
  • Treat people as individuals and make concessions for them as individuals, not because of their so-called disability. 
  • Little changes can make a huge difference to your business and the working like of a neurodivergent individual. 

With one in ten individuals in Scotland believed to be neurodivergent, it’s clear there is a massive opportunity to plug the ever-growing skills gap in tech by helping these uniquely talented individuals.

Although there are obvious corporate social responsibility benefits of such a move; it’s far more than pure altruism. Neurodivergent employees can give you a unique and often unparalleled view of the world leading to better solutions and a better company. Increased productivity, better innovations, staff retention and an enhanced reputation are just some of the key things your business will benefit from.

For further information about skills support available to tech companies here in Scotland, visit Skills Development ScotlandOur Skills Force or Digital World.