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Building workplaces where neurodivergent workers thrive

Neurodiversity means that people naturally differ in terms of how they think, understand information, interact, and communicate with others. Studies show that neurodivergent individuals demonstrate significant potential to be highly engaged and productive employees. However, barriers to their employment persist. According to the most recent Canadian Survey on Disability, only 33 per cent of adults on the Autism spectrum reported being employed in 2017.

Neurodivergent individuals experience barriers in accessing employment and often lack the supports and accommodations that facilitate career progression and access to leadership-track positions.

Our report explores strategies and best practices for reducing the economic and social costs associated with the low workplace engagement, employment, and productivity of neurodivergent employees in Canada.

Our research identifies three first steps for improving the workplace experience for neurodivergent Canadians:

  • Increase transparency in the accommodation process of available supports.
  • Implement company-wide neurodiversity awareness training.
  • Offer more flexibility in work arrangements.

Key insights

Neurodivergent workers and managers express positive attitudes toward neurodiversity in the workplace.

However, non-neurodivergent managers in particular would benefit from a strengthened understanding of the barriers that neurodivergent employees face.

Half of neurodivergent employees surveyed feel that informing their employers about their neurodiversity status might limit their opportunities for career progression or have other negative repercussions.

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