[QODLink]
Europe

German firm to hire hundreds with autism

Computer software company announces plans to employ hundreds of people with autism in bid to drive innovative thinking.

Last Modified: 22 May 2013 13:47
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
SAP hopes that employing people with autism will lead to innovations [GALLO/GETTY]

A German software giant has announced it intends to employ hundreds of people with autism as software testers and programmers in a global drive over the next seven years.

SAP, which has already launched pilot projects in India and Ireland, said the move aimed to find workers "who think differently" in the hopes that this would lead to innovative ideas and advances.

By 2020, one percent of SAP's currently 65,000-strong workforce is expected to be affected by autism, a company spokesman told the AFP news agency.

In India, the group said that productivity had increased since taking on six people with autism as software testers.

Under the Ireland-based pilot scheme, screening is being completed for five positions to be filled this year, it added.

SAP, which is working on the scheme with Specialisterne, an organisation established in Denmark in 2004 to help workers with autism, said it would widen the programme globally, kicking off in the US, Canada and Germany this year.

"With Specialisterne, we share a common belief that innovation comes from the 'edges'," Luisa Delgado, a member of SAP's executive board said in a written statement.

"Only by employing people who think differently and spark innovation will SAP be prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st century."

Specialisterne aims to harness the talents of people with autism to work in technology-orientated jobs and operates internationally, the SAP statement said.

In Germany, employers with at least 20 staff members are legally required to ensure that at least five percent of these jobs go to severely disabled people.

Autism tends to give people the ability to function more quickly than other people in certain tasks, and also means that people who have autism pay more attention to detail than those who do not.

However, despite being more efficient in certain fields such as visual memory, working under pressure can be difficult.

309

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.