Half of neurodiverse people missing work due to lack of workplace support

City & Guilds’ annual Neurodiversity Index shines a light on the challenges faced by neurodiverse people in the workplaceCity & Guilds’ annual Neurodiversity Index, published today following a government-backed review of autism employment, and ahead of Neurodiversity Week, shines a light on the challenges faced by neurodiverse people in the workplace, with half of those surveyed having been off work last year due to their condition. The second edition of the annual Neurodiversity Index, published by City & Guilds Foundation in partnership with Do-IT solutions, surveys over 600 individuals and organisations. The findings show that 36 percent of neurodivergent employees do not  receive any guidance or support in their workplace setting, while 20 percent are still waiting for adjustments to be put in place.

The report underscores the real-terms impact on productivity caused by a lack of workplace support. Survey respondents report regular cycles of burnout, as well as out of hours work to make up for time spent managing their conditions during the day. Despite this, of those surveyed, under half (49 percent) state that disability and inclusion policies are important to them, down from 53 percent last year.

However, the report also shows gradual year-on-year progress in certain key areas relevant to neurodiverse people. Around 40 percent of organisations surveyed have alternative application processes in place, up from 35 percent last year and 44 percent of organisations have neuro-inclusive strategies in place, compared to 34 percent last year. There is a 7 percent increase in the number of organisations with a neuro-inclusive commitment in place. However, 1 in 3 workplaces surveyed, lack a central commitment.

A new section in the 2024 Index investigates the impact of work on parents’ ability to provide adequate care for their neurodiverse children. While 28 percent of organisations report not having made any accommodations for the parents of neurodiverse children, 33 percent say they have plans to introduce these in the future.

Building on recent recommendations from the Buckland Review of Autism Employment, a government-backed review into inclusion for autistic people in the workplace, the Neurodiversity Index recommends:

  • ‘Baking in’ inclusive practice during the hiring process, from making job descriptions accessible, to providing questions before an interview and comprehensive onboarding.
  • Adopting ‘Neurodiversity Champions’ in the workplace to model best practice, provide a first port of call for colleagues seeking advice, and to boost representation.
  • Rolling out mandatory neuro-inclusion training for all managers and senior leaders to ensure it is considered in organisational decision-making.
  • Ensuring that physical, technological, and communication accommodations are in place to support all employees to access every aspect of the workplace.