Workers with autism recognised for unique skill set, ANZ recruiting nine new employees
Matt Ormiston knows his 12-year-old son Joshua will face challenges throughout his life that his older sisters won't, especially when it comes to getting a job.
Joshua is on the autism spectrum, and his father is part of a growing movement to help people with autism find employment that they will excel in.
Mr Ormiston is the director of the ANZ Spectrum Program, and the bank is currently hiring its inaugural intake of employees on the spectrum.
"That won't only just help my children, but will help other people's children who are also going to face into those same sort of challenges that I expect Josh will as he comes into that place of working life," Mr Ormiston said.
"It really starts to put you in a position after 20 odd years of working around the world in technology, to say here's something that I can really leave a legacy."
Currently in Australia only around 40 per cent of adults on the autism spectrum are employed.
Those who do find employment are often working in jobs below their educational or professional level.
But that could be beginning to change.
ANZ has become the latest major company to deliberately recruit people with autism.
Nine new employees are due to begin work early next year: four in cyber-security roles, five as test analysts.
The banking group insists the initiative is not driven simply by a "feel-good factor".
"There's a real untapped pool of potential here in the autistic community," Mr Ormiston said.
Autism researcher Professor Cheryl Dissanayake from La Trobe University said cyber security in particular was increasingly recognised as "a very good fit" for many people with autism.
"The attention to detail, the looking for information, for detailed information, for variations in code, is critical," she said.
"And many people with autism have very good skills to bring into that."
While the ANZ program is starting out with an intake of just nine employees, it is hoped it will expand significantly.
"We're really looking to be able to dream much bigger, and look at opportunities right across the ANZ," Mr Ormiston said.
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