Top Companies Hiring Neurodivergent Employees

Diversity and inclusion efforts are expanding to consider neurodiversity. Some of the top tech and finance companies now seek out neurodivergent talent.

portrait of Rachel Miller, Ph.D.
by Rachel Miller, Ph.D.

Updated October 11, 2022

Reviewed by Michelle N. Wolf

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Top Companies Hiring Neurodivergent Employees
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Diversity and inclusion initiatives sometimes overlook the potential of neurodivergent employees. While factors like race, gender, and sexuality are boons to building a more inclusive workforce, neurodiversity should also be at the forefront for inclusive companies.

Employees with conditions like ADHD/ADD, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, and other related conditions often drive innovation in the workplace. Neurodivergent workers assist their neurotypical counterparts with creative problem-solving and help create a more inclusive work environment. The Harvard Business Review suggests that neurodiverse employees give companies a competitive advantage.

Unemployment, however, runs high among neurodiverse groups. A 2019 study by Drexel University indicates that fewer than one in six autistic adults is employed full time. Below, we explore the top companies recruiting neurodivergent employees.

SAP

The German-based software company was one of the first to actively recruit neurodivergent talent. Since its SAPs Autism at Work program debuted in 2013, SAP has proven it can retain a neurodiverse workforce. SAP boasts a 90% retention rate among its neurodiverse employees.

SAP has been committed to mentoring autistic colleagues for nearly a decade to spark innovation. It continues to recruit autistic people worldwide. The company seeks new hires who are fascinated with emerging technology, open to new experiences, and ready to take on challenges.

Microsoft

Microsoft's Neurodiversity Hiring Program is built on the belief that neurodivergent individuals strengthen a workforce with innovative thinking and creative solutions. Their initiative frequently runs week-long hiring summits designed to break down typical barriers to access for neurodivergent talent. Potential hires hone their team-building and interviewing skills while learning about Microsoft's company culture.

The company has recruited talent for roles in data analytics, content writing, IT, consulting, and engineering. Microsoft also hosts an annual Ability Hack conference. This event invites employees to hack the social issues neurodiverse and disabled people face through technological innovation.

Dell

Dell established its Autism Hiring Program in 2018, partnering with the Neurodiversity in the Workplace initiative based out of Philadelphia's Autism Resource Center. Dell knew that to attract and successfully hire the untapped talent of neurodiverse people, it needed to rethink the hiring process. Dell now works with Neurodiversity in the Workplace to screen potential new hires.

Managers at Dell have seen the benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace. They describe a more close-knit, focused team of employees with autistic workers introducing new ways of solving problems.

JP Morgan Chase

Banking titan JP Morgan Chase has two pathways for neurodivergent talent to join their team. First, this company partners with agencies and universities to pair potential hires with the right role. Nonverbal employees or autistic people, for example, are often well-suited to roles that neurotypical employees could not perform.

The company also scouts neurodiverse talent through its Autism at Work program, founded in 2015.

Goldman Sachs

In 2019, Goldman Sachs created its unique Neurodiverse Hiring Initiative. Unlike other initiatives aimed at attracting neurodiverse talent, this program hires neurodiverse workers for an eight-week paid internship. Interns in the program participate in workshops, get mentorship, and can explore different career paths at the company.

Goldman Sachs runs its internship program in partnership with Specialisterne, a nonprofit specializing in integrating neurodiverse talent into the workplace. According to Goldman Sachs, the first class of interns in 2020 boasted a 100% job placement rate.

EY

Since 2016, EY has developed Neurodiversity Centers of Excellence (NCoE) at six locations across the U.S. Like Goldman Sachs, EY sources talent through Specialisterne. The company also seeks out potential hires from referrals, universities, and other advocacy groups. Through each NCoE, EY has reconceptualized its hiring process to focus on performance instead of behavior.

In addition, through its Neurodiversity-Powered Transformation program, EY is committed to being an example of inclusion in the workplace. This program shares the tools it has developed to source neurodiverse talent with other companies wanting to grow their own diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Ford Motor Company

FordWorks began in 2016 as a hiring initiative to source autistic talent. Since then, the program has expanded to include not just neurodiverse workers but also those with physical and mental disabilities. The program is supported by an employee-run resource group, Ford Empowering Diverse Abilities (FEDA).

Employees recruited through FordWorks currently work in IT, product development, and manufacturing. Through FordWorks and FEDA, Ford has used neurodivergent and disabled employees to innovate on projects related to autonomous vehicles and mobility.

Capital One

Capital One was one of the earliest adopters of an Autism at Work program. In 2009, a cohort of employees with autistic children began sharing resources and support with one another. This soon grew into an internship program that recruited and trained young autistic people by 2015.

Much like Ford, Capital One has diversified its efforts to be an inclusive company. Its CapAbilities Business Resource Group is a support network that neurodiverse and disabled employees can rely on.

Google Cloud

Last year, Google Cloud began collaborating with the Stanford Neurodiversity Project to grow and strengthen Google's existing autistic community. Google Cloud's Autism Career Program is unique because it doesn't just focus on hiring initiatives. The program also seeks to train 500 Google Cloud managers to work with autistic talent.

With Google's suite of wide-ranging products, it makes sense that the company would want to attract neurodiverse employees. These workers can ensure that everyone can access Google's products.

Specialisterne

This nonprofit has already appeared several times on this list, helping companies like Goldman Sachs and EY source neurodiverse employees. Specialisterne is devoted to supporting companies as they build their neurodiverse talent pools. So it makes sense that this nonprofit would hire neurodiverse workers itself.

At Specialisterne, potential hires go through an innovative four-step onboarding process. This includes an online application, the Employment Discovery Workshop, a training program, and, ultimately, full-time employment.


Bottom Line

Neurodiversity in the workplace is key to driving innovation and sustaining relationships with a population of consumers who are just as diverse. Through innovative hiring programs, internships, and other initiatives that attract neurodiverse talent, many companies are carving out essential niches for neurodiverse employees.

With different studies estimating that 15-20% of the population is neurodiverse, these programs and hiring initiatives won't be going anywhere any time soon.