New insights on effective autism employment practices

24 Mar 2021

According to ABS 2018 data, more than one third of people on the autism spectrum are unemployed. This is more than three times the rate for people with disability and almost eight times the rate for people without disability. 

The purpose of this global survey study was to investigate the challenges, learnings and best practices that organisations have in sustaining and scaling skilled autism employment.

The Autism CRC study was led by Associate Professor Anna Krzeminska (Macquarie Business School) and Professor Charmine Härtel (Monash Business School). It involved 169 autistic employees, co-workers and supervisors of autistic employees as well as human resource directors and executives from 33 for-profit, non-profit and social enterprise organisations across 12 countries.

“This study represents the first large scale, global quantitative study in the area and thus an important contribution to the available research evidence. It provides the opportunity to develop evidence-based conclusions that go beyond single cases and compare different employer types and locations,” says co-lead researcher A/Prof Anna Krzeminska.

Download final report Download executive summary Download visual snapshot

Prior to developing this study, a thorough analysis of the existing research centred on autism-inclusive employment, including hiring practices, management processes, barriers to equitable and sustainable employment, perceptions of inclusive hiring, and others found that most research to-date were small scale qualitative studies.

“Our research revealed several individual (gender, disclosed/non-disclosed, level of diagnosis), as well as contextual (employment and employer type, country), factors that were related to autistic workers’ perceived helpfulness of adjustments and organisational practices, workplace satisfaction, employment-related security, and inclusion,” says co-lead researcher Professor Charmine Hartel.

Project findings will benefit autistic adults who seek employment by identifying and developing recommendations for effective, sustainable, and scalable autism employment practices/models that are both applicable to a wide range of organisations, and improve the opportunities and workplace outcomes of autistic adults when applying and participating in such programs.

While the findings that emerged provide immediately useful new knowledge on effective autism employment practices, they also lay the foundation for multiple lines of new research inquiry. In addition, channels need to be established for industry-wide dissemination of autism employment best practice and resources to improve the employment outcomes of autistic adults.

You can find the Final Report, Executive Summary and a Visual Snapshot on the Autism CRC Knowledge Centre webpage:

Download final report Download executive summary Download visual snapshot

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