WORK­ERS SEEN IN A NEW LIGHT

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - CLASSIFIEDS -

AUS­TRALIANS with dis­abil­i­ties are twice as likely to be un­em­ployed than the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, but the fu­ture is look­ing up as or­gan­i­sa­tions and new tech­nolo­gies change the way peo­ple work and hire. In 2015, the un­em­ploy­ment rate for peo­ple with a dis­abil­ity was 10 per cent, com­pared with 5.3 per cent for the work­force over­all, ABS data shows. This fig­ure was 31.6 per cent for peo­ple with autism, specif­i­cally. Mi­crosoft chief ac­ces­si­bil­ity of­fi­cer Jenny Lay-Flur­rie says peo­ple with autism are of­ten work­ing in jobs that do not take ad­van­tage of their skills. To ad­dress this, the tech com­pany launched a hir­ing pro­gram in the US that it plans to roll out in­ter­na­tion­ally, which is dif­fer­ent to a tra­di­tional job in­ter­view. “We set you tasks, and we as­sess your skills based on how you de­liver on those tasks,” she says. Lay-Flur­rie re­calls a de­vel­oper writ­ing code. “Ul­ti­mately, the hir­ing man­agers are like ‘we need this code, we need to see what the hell this kid’s done’,” she says. “It turned out he was just an ut­ter ge­nius, but that was never show­ing through in our in­ter­views.”

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