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Global firm seeks candidates with autism to 'spark innovation'

'Strength lies in differences, not in similarities,' said American businessman and leadership guru, Stephen Covey. Many would say the same is true for organisations. Finding creativity and innovation is that much more difficult in workplaces where everyone thinks and behaves in the same way.

The global technology firm SAP believes that 'innovation comes from the "edges"'. As such, it has recently announced a recruitment drive targeting people with autism in its efforts to promote diversity and innovation. 'Only by empowering people who think differently and spark innovation will SAP be prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st century,' an SAP board member said.

Successful pilots in India found that people with autism working as software testers had increased team productivity and cohesion. The hiring programme will now be rolled out in the US, Canada and Germany, and aims to empower people with autism 'to excel in their areas of strength'.

To identify candidates SAP is working with recruiter Specialisterne, most of whose staff are themselves diagnosed on the autistic spectrum, working as consultants on software programming, testing and data management. Specialisterne operates in several European countries including the UK.

Acas operates an Equality and diversity advisory service which may be able to recommend improvements to your organisation's equality and diversity procedures. Acas can also provide practical training on Equality, diversity and the Equality Act 2010, and help you get the best for your organisation through Recruitment training.

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