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Autistic individuals score 10% higher in key tech capabilities, finds research

Autistic individuals typically score 10 per cent higher in their digital skills aptitude than those with neurotypical traits, according to new data from digital skills company WithYouWithMe (WYWM).

The data, collected from 12,000 test results from more than two years of aptitude testing, observed individuals’ aptitude and attitude to identify their suitability and adaptability to a career in tech, with the aim of identifying people who can help solve the UK’s digital skills crisis.

Neurodivergent individuals – people whose neurological development is either under or over developed such as with autism, ADHD and dyslexia – were found to be most suitable to roles in the technology industry, scoring 10 per cent higher than the general population.

Through its ethical AI testing model, WithYouWithMe also found that almost a third (32 per cent) of neurodivergent individuals scored higher in spatial awareness and 10 per cent high in Digital Symbol Coding. These key skills directly translate to careers in the engineering, IT and data analytics sectors.

Furthermore, individuals with dyslexia were found to score higher in spatial awareness, a key capability for careers in IT systems administration and user-experience.

The research also revealed that autistic individuals most commonly matched with careers in software development, consulting, and digital marketing, as well as scoring higher than the general population in verbal reasoning.

Jack Desmond, Neurodiversity Lead for WYWM, commented: “Our research has shown that autistic, dyslexic or ADHD individuals, as well as those with other cognitive differences, can play a key role in solving the digital skills crisis which engulfs the technology industry.

Neurodivergent individuals are grossly underrepresented when it comes to employment in the UK, and this research shows they possess the necessary aptitude and skills that employers are looking for.

“As an autistic person, I am greatly encouraged to see neurodivergent people recognised for the unique value they bring, but the next step is for widespread training and deployment into key roles within the technology industry where they will make a tangible difference. The benefit will be enormous for individuals to be given more opportunities, and for organisations to help solve the digital skills crisis.”

WYWM is a “social impact” company that lowers the barriers to entry into tech careers.

It works with many of the UK’s biggest organisations – from the Ministry of Defence to tech giant Northrop Grumman – to use innovative psychometric testing to identify people with the aptitude to thrive in tech-based roles who may otherwise be overlooked. It then builds their skills to be employment-ready through accredited digital skills training.

Key to WYWM’s social impact business model is providing upskilling and recruitment opportunities to candidates from diverse talent pools by focusing on their future potential, not their past experience. The company has identified and trained more than 20,000 high performers from groups including the neurodivergent, military veterans and refugees – and also introduced more women to the typically male-dominated tech industry.

The online training offered by WYWM ranges from entry-level to advanced courses across 10 of the most in-demand digital career pathways, such as data analytics, software development and cyber security.