#HireDifferent Research: What We’ve Learned

Since the founding of Creative Spirit in 2017, we’ve been working nonstop to close the unemployment gap for people who are neurodiverse. We envision a world where disability isn’t synonymous with “unemployable” and where people who are neurodivergent can feel knowledgeable, prepared, and confident entering the workforce.  Changing the employment status quo for people with disabilities is an enormous task, and we can’t do it without a clear, fact-based understanding of where employers stand. So, Creative Spirit commissioned the first independent, large-scale study to gain insight into the attitudes, behaviors and priorities of employers during Q4 2020, when DE&I catapulted to the top of corporate agendas. 

Today, we’re excited to share the key findings from our report, from the #HireDifferent Research. The DE&I Roadmap to Hiring Neurodiverse Talent. We endeavored to: identify the reasons why hiring those with disabilities has fallen behind other protected classes, uncover unmet needs, gain insight into how the Creative Spirit concept is received by employers; and identify the key myths and misconceptions obstructing neurodiverse employment.  

First, the positive. We found that, for all companies, hiring strong talent will continue to be a high priority for organizations post-pandemic, the establishment of diversity goals is now a mandate, and that companies are almost universally interested in the work that Creative Spirit is doing in the disability space, particularly in the areas of pipeline development and employee training. 

The study, conducted for #HireDifferent Research, also identified a number of misconceptions holding companies back from hiring neurodiverse candidates. We found that the most pervasive myths included the belief that there is a lack of a talent pipeline; a lack of expertise in training and resources available for HR teams; and the amount of support it might take to make employees with disabilities successful in fair wage positions. These myths suggest that employers don’t fully appreciate the incredible talent and diverse, creative, outside-the-box value that neurodiverse employees contribute. Rather than being held back by diversity, companies that hire individuals with neurodiversity have reported improved productivity, higher retention rates, and fewer workplace accidents. Additionally, contrary to conventional wisdom, most employees with neurodiverse conditions don’t require an excess amount of support to perform their jobs well. Despite all of these advantages, we, unfortunately, found that for most organizations, hiring individuals with disabilities ranks extremely low on their list of diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities. Far from being discouraged, we’re confident that we have the resources, partnerships, and expertise to help employers appreciate why diversity and inclusion are not only beneficial, but indispensable to their organizations.

Through our outstanding corporate partnerships and services, Creative Spirit can also dramatically increase awareness of the challenges neurodiverse jobseekers face, and improve the lives of employees working inside organizations today. Despite the fact that less than 12% of companies have an active hiring agenda for people with disabilities, we now definitively know that the majority of organizations are ready, willing, and able to hire people with disabilities if they have the support of an expert. By improving companies’ awareness of Creative Spirit as a resource, we can break down harmful misconceptions about the cost of hiring, the complexity of workplace accommodations, and the abilities of employees with disabilities. We can also meet our ultimate goal of helping companies make hiring neurodiverse talent a top priority. #HireDifferent Research

Be sure to check out our blog at https://www.creativespirit-us.org/blog/ for the latest updates on how we’re connecting our candidates with employment, and creating a truly inclusive, stigma-free workplace culture that celebrates neurodiversity not as a setback, but as a superpower.

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