With the rapid advancement of innovative technology, coupled with IT being a core function in contemporary business, there has been an upward trend of multi-national companies (MNCs) reporting a skill deficit in areas such as data analytics and cybersecurity (Columbus, 2017. IBM predicts demand for data scientists will soar 28% By 2020. Forbes; NeSmith, 2018. The cybersecurity gap is an industry crisis. Forbes). In a recent survey with over 3,000 CIOs, 65% indicated their organizations were unable to maintain par with the progression of technology in areas such as data analytics and security due to a lack of adequate talent (Harvey Nash & KPMG, 2018. CIO survey 2018). Although, organizations have recently started to expand their talent pipeline following a neurological breakthrough: research as well as anecdotal evidence suggests adults with mild forms of autism display above-average intelligence, increased attention focus, and high visual–spatial abilities; a combination in high market demand for roles such as software testing, data analysis, cybersecurity, and engineering due to their uncanny ability with pattern recognition, information processing, analytics, and attention to detail.
These auspicious developments come at the helm of an increasing rate of governments around the world implementing provisions to their labour regulations towards equitable hiring of people with disabilities (Myors et al., 2017. Perspectives from 22 countries on the legal environment for selection. Handbook of Employee Selection. 659–677. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School of Business.). Some, such as France, Japan, Kenya, Korea, and Taiwan, have gone so far as to set quota targets (Myors et al., 2017. Perspectives from 22 countries on the legal environment for selection. Handbook of Employee Selection. 659–677. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School of Business.). The implication for organizations is that they need to develop disability-inclusive recruitment and selection systems along with work designs and environments that are disability friendly. But what does this mean in practice? What does a disability-inclusive recruitment and selection system look like?
Enter DXC Technology (DXC): born out of a merger between global conglomerate Computer Science Corporation and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, generating close to $25 billion annually in revenue, with clients across more than 70 countries, they strategically became a pioneer in the digital transformation that was taking place globally. In the wake of the breakthrough in employment diversity, DXC recognized this as an opportunity to gain a critical edge within the increasingly competitive talent pool market. First, design a program of their own for recruiting and selecting adults with high functioning autism. Next, through a collaboration with various universities including the University of Queensland and Macquarie University, Neurodiversity Hubs were established; an initiative designed to assist neurodivergent students with obtaining work experience and internships. In doing so, they faced the following key challenges: How could they design a recruitment and selection strategy for neurodivergent individuals that was equitable, ethical, and efficient? In particular, where could they find suitable neurodivergent candidates, what criteria should they use to select them, and how should they handle unsuccessful candidates to ensure beneficial outcomes for all stakeholders?