DMA Talent, a division of the recently rebranded Data & Marketing Association, is aiming to boost the employment prospects of neurodiverse people in the marketing industry by publishing new guidance for employers, featuring best-practice advice and case studies, to increase their understanding of the issue.
The organisation first embarked on the initiative 18 months ago, working alongside experts, brands and leading industry figures, some with neurodevelopmental conditions themselves, to define best practice and develop a forum where businesses can discuss neurodiversity.
This culminated in a series of workshops run by Matthew Trerise, who has 15 years’ experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum. He has advised multiple employers on alterations they should make to their recruitment procedures and working environment to be "neurodiverse friendly".
According to the National Autistic Society, there are about 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK, but only 16% of autistic adults are in full-time employment and 77% of those unemployed say that they want to work.
DMA Talent: Autism Employer Guide was compiled using insights gleaned from the NHS, brands, employers and autistic employees who work in creative, data and marketing roles.
The guidelines include recommendations on adjustments that employers can make to recruitment processes, support networks and how to treat employees as individuals. Suggestions include being clear in communications and changing lighting and background noise that can trigger hypersensitivity.
Trerise, who has co-authored the guide, said: "Autistic people have been misunderstood and socially excluded for far too long. We must change the way we think about autism, have a lot more respect for the significant role autistic people have in society and recognise the skills, strengths, honesty and integrity that this exceptional group of people bring to the workplace and our community."
DMA Talent general manager Kate Burnett added: "There is enormous demand within the data and marketing industry, and the wider professional community, for recruitment and employment initiatives that help people with neurodevelopmental conditions to seek and maintain employment.
"Our guidance is designed in such a way that, whatever stage a business is on their neurodiversity journey, they can pick this up to receive expert guidance and best practice."