5 Career Choices For Autistic Job Seekers

The employment rates for autistic individuals across British Columbia make for some depressing reading. Out of a population of almost 50,000 adults who have been diagnosed somewhere on the autistic spectrum, it’s estimated that over 80% of them are either unemployed or underemployed, meaning that they are in work that doesn’t make use of their unique skills or talents. While it’s true that not every autistic adult is going to be able to succeed in a modern office environment, there should be every expectation that, with the right level of support, every autistic job seeker can find a meaningful career path.

The Challenges Facing Autistic Job Seekers

The low employment rate for autistic British Columbians can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, there is a higher level of hesitancy about the workplace on the part of many autistic adults. It has the perception of being unpredictable, loud, overly demanding and generally unfriendly towards neurodiversity. Secondly, on the part of the employers, there are many accommodations and changes that would need to be made to fully employ an autistic worker, and for some companies, these feel like too much work. Finally, there is a wider misconception in society that autistic individuals are not capable of taking their place in society. This stems from plenty of negative stereotypes being reinforced in movies and the media and puts a biased barrier up during the application and interview process.

Career Choices For Autistic Adults

Despite the challenges facing them, there are plenty of professional jobs for ASD that are accessible depending on the support needs of the individual. 5 good career choices for people with ASD include:

  1. Information Technology – the field with the highest percentage of autistic workers in almost every country is information technology. Many facets of each job appeal to the neurodiverse brain: the ability to work independently on a rule based project that has predictable inputs and outputs. Autistic job seekers looking for IT roles should focus on software testing and development and jobs with larger established businesses instead of customer facing roles or those in small start ups as these will be highly stressful and unpredictable. 
  2. Accounting – another popular field for autistic job seekers is accounting. Again, many of the characteristics required to succeed in this field are common in autistic individuals: a highly logical math brain, the ability to work systematically within a set of rules and a desire to work independently on projects. Possible roles include a tax preparation specialist, forensic accounting or a bookkeeper for local businesses. 
  3. Shipping and logistics – the world of shipping and logistics has many roles that can accommodate most support needs for autistic job seekers. There’s the physical side of the field, with truck drivers and warehouse operators being popular professions for autistic workers, while behind the scenes work could involve being a mail processor, dispatcher or software engineer for distribution routes. All of these come with the job satisfaction of making people’s lives easier by creating smooth supply chains. 
  4. Art and design – for many autistic people, the ability to visualize and create complex 2D and 3D objects is part of what makes their brains stand out from the crowd. Finding a career that makes use of this innate artistic prowess can be tricky, but potential jobs that use art and design include graphic design, architect and illustration. These can be dream fields if they are tied into an area of fascination. 
  5. Research – finally, jobs that involve research will usually be highly successful for autistic job seekers. Roles such as librarian, fact checker or research assistant at a college or university all make use of several common autistic traits: the ability to digest and synthesize existing information in a new way, working independently and the need for logical and unemotional presentation of just the facts are just some of the skills that help autistic workers succeed in research related jobs.

Getting Started

All of these careers may sound fantastic on paper, but the research shows that it’s quite another matter to help autistic individuals get into these fields. This is where signing up with an autism talent management agency is a smart move. These companies work with autistic job seekers to train them up in their desired field as well as prepare them for the world of work. They also work alongside potential employers to help them make the necessary accommodations and changes that will make them more autism-friendly, as well as training their staff and breaking down some of the common myths and misconceptions about autism. 

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