Updated 14 May 2015

Microsoft wants to hire workers with autism

A corporate vice president from Microsoft wrote in a company blog last week that people with autism bring needed strengths to the company.


US technology giant Microsoft has launched a pilot programme to hire autistic workers at its headquarters in Washington state.

A talent pool

"People with autism bring strengths that we need at Microsoft," Mary Ellen Smith, a corporate vice president wrote in a company blog last week.

"Each individual is different, some have amazing ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth or excel in maths or code. It's a talent pool that we want to continue to bring to Microsoft!"

Smith, who has a son with autism who is now 19, said the programme builds on longstanding efforts at Microsoft to enlist people with disabilities.

Read: Causes of intellectual disability

Microsoft is working on the initiative with Specialisterne, a venture started by the Specialist People Foundation in Denmark. The organisation's philosophy is to tap traits that austistic people have that can be useful to companies, for instance in software testing, programming and data entry,

"The traits that usually exclude people with autism from the labour market are the very traits that make them valuable employees at Specialisterne, such as attention to detail, zero tolerance for errors and a persistence to get the job done," according to the group's website.

"We don't see them as people with an autism diagnosis; rather, we see them as true specialists."

Specialisterne previously assisted German technology company SAP on a venture hire workers with autism.

Read more:

On the autism spectrum

Who is the Autism Spectrum Expert

Another study finds no vaccine-autism link

Image: The word autism from Shutterstock


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