New research from the City & Guilds Foundation, and neurodiversity experts Do-IT Solutions finds that employers are currently failing to support neurodivergent employees with a lack of training and awareness available in the workplace.
Despite the research finding that 41% of employers have adapted recruitment processes to accommodate neurodivergent traits, only a third of HR professionals and 29% of Senior Leaders have had any specific training in relation to neurodiversity.
An overwhelming 80% of the 972 respondents think it’s important to have disability inclusion policies and procedures in the workplace yet the research findings prove that this is currently lacking with just 23% of HR respondents having any training relating to neurodiversity in the last 12 months.
One third of respondents (32%) have felt as if they can’t disclose their neurodivergent condition in the workplace, with 10% of respondents having been met with a poor response once they have done so. More positively almost half of organisations included in the research (49%) have neurodiversity champions or mentors, serving as advocates and allies and raising awareness of neurodiversity within the workplace.
Neurodivergent respondents of the survey were also more likely to report having neurodivergent children. Just under half the respondents have family dependents with a neurodivergent condition and 30% of parents of neurodivergent children have said it’s had an impact on their work.
Kirstie Donnelly MBE, CEO of City & Guilds, said: “Neurodivergent people are estimated to make up 1 in 7 of the population in the UK, and when given the opportunity can bring fresh thinking to businesses that makes them more resilient and profitable. However, many face barriers when it comes to education, and training and getting into (and staying in) work. This is demonstrated in the fact that 30-40% of neurodivergent people are unemployed in the UK today.
“To support more businesses to employ neurodivergent people, we carried out this important piece of research to find a benchmark for organisations to use and to consider what actions they should take to create a more inclusive workplace for all.”
Professor Amanda Kirby MBBS MRCGP PhD, CEO of Do-IT Solutions, said:
“The challenge remains in society that there is still a low level of appreciation of differences and the talents and skills we can gain if we ensure a more inclusive approach to both education and employment. This research is not only about employers, it’s also very important to capture an understanding from employees working in all sizes of organisations and to hear their current lived experiences and enable a means of having their voices heard. I’m delighted to be able to partner with City & Guilds Foundation on this Neurodiversity Index which will hopefully support many organisations on their quest to become more inclusive.”
In October 2022 City & Guilds in partnership with the Education Training Foundation launched a series of tools to support inclusive learning. The City & Guilds Inclusive Curriculum Framework has been created to equip trainers to confidently support learners with disabilities. See the first tool covering Specific Learning Difficulties: Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia and Visual Stress here.
The City & Guilds Foundation’s purpose is to remove barriers into work. More information on how the City & Guilds Foundation are supporting Inclusion, Equity and Diversity in the workplace can be found here.
About the research
Research was conducted by City & Guilds and Do-IT Solutions via the Do-IT Solutions platform. Fieldwork was undertaken between August 2022 – December 2022 with 972 survey respondents it total. You can download the full report from the City & Guilds Foundation Website
Lisa Owen is a Team Leader at St Giles Trust, a charity helping those facing the greatest adversity to realise a positive future. Her remit includes ensuring that St Giles is inclusive and she undertook neurodiversity training through the City & Guilds Foundation as part of the learning process. She explains:
‘We need to be as inclusive as possible from the moment someone sees a job advert through to when they leave the charity and at every single stage in between. This takes a huge level of understanding and commitment from staff across the whole organisation.’