Explore new sources of talent
The growing demand for IT skills and the strong belief that innovation comes from incorporating diverse perspectives caused SAP to rethink the way the company defines talent. It realized that there is a significant and traditionally untapped talent pool composed of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who could bring a different perspective to problem-solving. Autistic employees have a unique skill set that delivers business value. Adults with ASD have an unemployment rate of close to 80% in spite of having strong academic credentials, experience and/or marketable skills.
In 2013, SAP committed to hire 700 people with autism by 2020, equivalent to 1% of the company’s workforce. Like many other companies, recruiting processes for most positions at SAP were once designed to favour those with strong communication skills and team-player capabilities. But as people with autism rarely bring these skills, the company was missing an opportunity to bring on board exceptional talent that could bring strong business, science and technology capabilities to the organization.
SAP then tailored its recruiting approach to hire autistic people for jobs where they could make use of their strengths. In the beginning, the company hired people within the areas of quality assurance and software testing. From those early days, the programme has expanded from technical-oriented roles into other functional areas that include human resources, IT, compliance, procurement and finance.
Home page image: REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade