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Government review highlights barriers facing people with autism

Published on: 4 Apr 2024

People with autism face the largest pay gap of all people with disabilities, receiving a third less than people without disabilities, according to a government review.

Government review highlights

The Buckland Review of Autism Employment found that only around 30% of people with autism are in employment, compared with around half of all people who have disabilities and around 80% of people without disabilities.

Graduates with autism are twice as likely to be unemployed after 15 months as graduates without disabilities, with only 36% finding full-time work in this period. They are most likely to be overqualified for their jobs and to work zero-hours contracts, and least likely to be in a permanent role.  

Barriers include poor preparation by employers, unfair hiring practices, unclear processes and outdated attitudes. From a young age, people with autism are less likely than their peers to have the time, connections or support to seek work experience, while career advisers are often poorly equipped to support them. 

People with autism also have more negative experiences of interviews, group tasks and psychometric tests. The report notes that they must navigate “vague, generic job descriptions, ambiguous interview questions and challenging sensory environments”, often with an emphasis on social rather than job skills.

Maintaining long-term employment is also a challenge; many people with autism do not receive the support or adjustments that would enable them to fulfil their roles, the review continues. Its publication coincides with the release of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development’s Neuroinclusion at work guidance, which urges employers to encourage flexibility in office design, schedules and locations.