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New report reveals tech employers are excluding neurodiverse candidates

27 February 2023

According to Sparta Global, although neurodiverse people bring in-demand perspectives to technology, they are not being supported by the sector.

Sparta Global’s 2023 EqualTech report has been curated from a survey of 500 senior and C-suite individuals working in organisations across almost every industry sector. 

The digital skills gap in the UK continues to present significant challenges for UK employers and the wider economy. Sparta Global’s research indicates that when companies attract and retain neuro-inclusive digital teams, they are more likely to gain and sustain a competitive advantage across areas such as computational thinking, observation, adaptability and intuition. 

Positively, 87 percent of digital leaders surveyed in Sparta Global’s research believe that neurodiversity will be a top priority for their companies in 2023 and 54 percent stated that Covid-19 accelerated conversations around commitment to neurodiversity. 

In contradiction, Sparta Global’s research also shows awareness has not equalled change.  The report notes that just 21 percent of respondents work for businesses that tailor their recruitment practices to neurodivergent candidates. In turn, this means 79 percent of organisations have taken no steps to accommodate those with neurodiverse characteristics. 

“I had no idea that we would receive such overwhelming and honest feedback,” says David Rai, Sparta Global CEO. 

“With the UK Government reporting that we could face a shortage of 900,000 skilled IT workers by next year, an empowered neurodiverse community presents perspectives and skills that could be transformative. 

“Despite this, I was shocked to see how few businesses have practically adapted their hiring strategies to support neurodiverse applicants.”

83 percent of neurodivergent workers surveyed reported feeling worried, nervous, and fearful about having conversations with their employer regarding their neurodiversity. Crucially, 59 percent of respondents feel that there isn’t enough support available in their organisations, and fear that disclosing their neurodiversity may have negative repercussions on their future within their companies. 

Neurodivergent employees are a demographic in evolution. Of those surveyed who identified as neurodivergent, only 26 percent were diagnosed during childhood, while 31 percent were diagnosed as adults. A further 15 percent reported that they are currently undergoing a diagnosis, while 28 percent are planning to seek an assessment in the future. 

Rai adds, “I hope employers, educators, and those outside of our established network, can glean as much insight, knowledge, and practical advice from this report as I have.”

In addition to delivering key insights across neurodiversity and technology, the Equal Tech Report also features contributions from Admiral, Schroders, Gallagher, ADHD Girls and more. You can see the full EqualTech report here

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