Turning differences into strengths: The benefits of neurodiversity in the workplace

Neurodiversity is a term that refers to differences in the way individuals think and process information. The term is often used to refer to people with autism. However, it can also refer to those with ADHD or dyslexia.

Unfortunately, neurodiverse people are under-represented in the workforce. For example, research has shown that autistic people are three times more likely to be unemployed than those with other disabilities and eight times more likely to be unemployed then the general population. This is despite the fact they possess many strengths and abilities, meaning employers are missing out on a large untapped workforce. So, what are the benefits of neurodiversity in the workforce?

It’s important to consider that neurodivergent people all have different skills and abilities. Some people may excel at a particular task, while others will struggle with it.

As we mark Autism Awareness Month, Hays, MI Training and the Sydney Morning Herald  highlight some of the common strengths neurodivergent people can bring to the workplace.

Some of the common strengths neurodivergent people can bring to the workplace

High level of concentration and focus

Hyperfocus, which refers to intense mental concentration or engagement on a task, is common among neurodivergent people.


Increased productivity

As many neurodivergent people are not easily distracted, they get work done quickly. This can result in increased productivity.


Strong attention to detail

Neurodivergent individuals often have strong attention to detail and can pick up things others may not notice. For example, they may identify errors.


Detailed knowledge of topics

Neurodiverse people often have strong areas of interest. They will dive deeply into these topics, developing extensive knowledge.


Easily develop technical skills

Neurodiverse people are often quick learners and can easily pick up skills, especially if they are in an area of interest.

For example, neurodiverse people are often skilled at recognising patterns and data analysis.


Good at creative problem solving

Neurodiverse people think differently. This means they can come up with solutions to problems others may have yet to consider. Studies have shown that groups featuring neurodiverse individuals are up to 30% better at problem solving.



Neurodiverse people often think outside the box. As a result, they can bring fresh ideas and perspectives.


Compliment other team members

Neurodiverse people possess skills that complement those of others. Their differing skill sets can make them a valuable asset when undertaking team projects. For example, a neurodiverse person might excel at data analysis, which could compliment the communication skills of others.



Neurodiverse employees are often known to be reliable, and loyal and committed to their employer. This is especially the case in environments where they feel supported and valued. Increased loyalty can be a significant advantage in an environment where retaining staff is difficult.


How to support neurodiverse people in the workplace

It is essential to recognise that each neurodiverse individual is unique and may require different types and levels of support.

Ask a neurodiverse person if there are any accommodations they need.

When interviewing neurodiverse candidates, consider that they may struggle to make eye contact or have social limitations. Consider if there are ways other than an interview to assess their capabilities.

Educate those around you about neurodiversity. In many cases, the more people know about neurodiversity, the more accepting they will be.


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