Unbelievably, it is estimated that fewer than 1 in 6 adults on the Autism Spectrum have full-time work. The statistics recently released in the National Autism Indicators Report from Drexel University are even more disheartening. Less than 16% of those polled for the report had full-time paid work, while only 32% had paid work of any kind. Of those working, 51% insisted their skills are higher than what their current job offers. And most incredibly, 77% of those are unemployed say they want to work!
Fortunately, a growing number of small businesses, large companies, and vast corporations are realizing the value of hiring neurodiverse individuals. Indeed, the Autism at Work program at JPMorgan Chase found that as a whole, their more than 300 neurodiverse employees are 48% faster and 92% more productive than their neurotypical employees. For those on the Autism Spectrum who want to work, this shift in general corporate thinking is a big positive. And while there is certainly much more progress that needs to be made, it’s time to recognize those paving the way. Keep scrolling for the 30 best employers for people with autism.
AMC is home to the FOCUS Program, an employee-development program dedicated to hiring people with autism and various disabilities. According to its website, AMC’s FOCUS program — which stands for “Furthering Opportunities, Cultivating Untapped Strengths” — “provides individuals affected by disabilities with access to opportunities for competitive employment, wages, and benefits side-by-side with other associates in our theaters.”
Founded specifically to create jobs for people on the Autism Spectrum, AutonomyWorks “frees companies from the burden of repetitive processing work so they can focus more time and attention on strategy and results.” To achieve this end, AutonomyWorks utilizes the talents of those with autism:
- focus through repetitive tasks
- dedication to quality
- attention to detail.
To learn more about AutonomyWorks’s development programs, or see current hiring needs, check out the company’s website.
Headquartered in San Ramon, California, Chevron is a multinational energy corporation. It’s active in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is engaged in aspects of the natural gas, oil, and geothermal energy industries.
Chevron works closely with PathPoint, an employment agency specializing in placing people with autism and other diagnoses in good jobs. For its service stations, the company created the role of Station Support Representative to be filled specifically by someone who is neurodiverse. The job includes:
- supporting other staff
Recently, Chevron launched a pilot program to hire those with autism for its IT departments.
Computer Aid, Inc.
Computer Aid, Inc. describes itself as a “$600 million privately-held global Information Technology (IT) application management and outsourcing corporation.” The company focuses on developing service models that leverage performance metrics and defined processes in an effort to “maximize visibility, control, and productivity.” Basically, it provides reliable IT services to its clients.
For prospective employees with autism, Computer Aid, Inc. offers the Autism2Work program. This innovative inclusive-hiring program skips the traditional interview process. Instead it allows potential hires to showcase their skills. Hands-on job training and ongoing support are also provided to any employee on the Spectrum.
CVS Caremark is the subsidiary of CVS Health that deals with prescription benefit management. The company is one of the leading pharmacy benefit management companies in the country. It operates a network of more than 60,000 participating pharmacies.
CVS works closely with Ken’s Krew, an organization which helps individuals with cognitive differences successfully enter the workforce. Those interested in working for CVS Caremark can go through Ken’s Krew to:
- search jobs
- receive specialized skills training
- team up with coaches and mentors
To date, Ken’s Krew has helped place almost 1,000 employees with autism in CVS stores around the country.
Founded in 2017, DXC Technology is a multinational corporation that provides B2B IT services — that is, business-to-business transactions in which one business makes a commercial transaction with another.
DXC Technology is home to the DXC Dandelion Program, a unique initiative designed to find, train, and employ people on the Autism Spectrum. DCX’s program partner, La Trobe University, has developed an effective screening process for incoming employees.
Ernst & Young
- tax consulting
- advisory, among other markets
Good news for potential EY employees: Fortune magazine has ranked Ernst & Young one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” for more than two decades.
The accounting firm has long valued neurodiversity. As it states on its website, “Companies are finding that people with autism approach problems differently and that their logical, straightforward thinking can spur process improvements that greatly increase productivity.” To recruit people with autism who are “intelligent, well-educated, and eager to work,” Ernst & Young put together a project team to find, train, and place employees in suitable roles in the company.
Ford Motor Company
A household name, Ford Motor Company is a multinational automaker. Besides its Ford brand, the company sells Lincolns and the Brazilian SUV manufacturer Troller. It has stakes in Aston Martin and Jiangling Motors, among others.
Ford has teamed up with the Autism Alliance of Michigan to found FordInclusiveWorks, a program for hiring and supporting employees on the Autism Spectrum. Ford explains the entire process on its website: “[We] worked with the Product Development Vehicle Evaluation and Verification supervisors and the Human Resources department to review jobs. After that, we teamed up with the Autism Alliance of Michigan. They sent staff to Ford to shadow jobs and determine which would be suitable for the particular strengths of those with autism, and to help address the issues related to both getting and keeping a job.”
Known officially as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, Freddie Mac is a public government-sponsored enterprise which buys mortgages on the secondary market, pools them, and sells them as a mortgage-backed security to investors on the open market.
According to its website, Freddie Mac believes typically autistic traits to be an asset in their industry. Therefore, the company actually reaches out to people on the Autism Spectrum. Freddie Mac works closely with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network to create an Autism Internship Program. The program recruits, trains, and hires qualified individuals who may have trouble finding or keeping work.
GameStop is a retailer of video games, gaming merchandise, and consumer electronics. Based in the United States, the corporation has nearly 6,000 stores throughout America, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Game Informer, a popular video game magazine, is also owned by GameStop.
According to its website, GameStop believes “a more diverse workforce provides many benefits in drawing upon a greater richness of resources, experiences, ideas, and talents.” The company provides equal opportunity to all applicants, regardless of disability.
Known officially as Giant Food of Maryland, LLC, Giant is a chain of supermarkets in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Giant operates about 169 supermarkets, 159 of which include full-service pharmacies.
Giant Food has partnered with the Bridges From School to Work program to enhance employment opportunities for young people with autism and other disabilities. The program has placed dozens of young adults in entry-level positions throughout Giant’s chain of stores. In recognition of its focus on creating opportunities for underrepresented groups, Giant was awarded the 2008 Employer of the Year award by the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities.
- a search engine
- cloud computing
- software and hardware
- online advertising technologies.
Google — along with Amazon, Facebook, and Apple — is considered to be a “Big Four” tech company.
As stated on its website, “At Google, we don’t just accept difference — we celebrate it, we support it, and we thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our products, and our community.” The company asserts it’s committed to offering equal opportunities to neurodiverse individuals, and will even organize accommodations during the interview and training processes.
The Home Depot
The Home Depot is America’s biggest home improvement retailer. Each store sells myriad tools, construction products, and services aimed at both professionals and amateurs. There are Home Depots throughout the United States and its territories, in all provinces of Canada, and in all 31 states in Mexico.
Like CVS Caremark, The Home Depot works closely with the organization Ken’s Krew to recruit and train employees on the Autism Spectrum. The program provides:
- specific skills training
- coaching and mentorships
- job matching, and more
To date, it’s estimated that Ken’s Krew and The Home Depot have placed nearly 1,000 employees with autism into jobs.
- personal computers
- 3D printers and related supplies
- traditional printers
A member of both the New York Stock Exchange and the Fortune 500 list, HP Inc. is the biggest vendor of personal computers on Earth.
HP Inc. offers prospective employees with autism the HP Spectrum Success Program. Once a year, HP teams up with two other organizations, Vocational Rehabilitation and PROVAIL. It opens up a hiring event specifically for recruiting, hiring, and training to retain qualified candidates with autism.
JPMorgan Chase & Co
Not only is JPMorgan Chase the biggest bank in the United States, it is sixth biggest bank globally. As if that’s not impressive enough, it ranks as the “world’s most valuable bank” by market capitalization.
In 2015, Chase launched its Autism at Work program. This initiative has already proven extremely successful. The company will have hired around 300 employees with autism by the end of 2020. Prospective hires who go through the program experience an adapted interview process. Current employees on the Autism Spectrum have access to job mentors and a dedicated office of disability inclusion.
Like The Home Depot, another great employer for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Lowe’s is a big-box American retail company specializing in home improvement. As the second largest hardware store chain in the U.S. and the world, Lowe’s has more than 2,000 stores throughout America and Canada.
Lowe’s has won countless awards for its inclusive culture and nondiscriminatory hiring practices. The company seeks “talented individuals from all backgrounds who bring a can-do attitude and a love of helping others to work everyday.” Once hired, employees are offered a variety of benefits, including:
- tuition reimbursement
- Continuing Professional Education courses
- scholarships, and more.
Founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft is a multinational tech company. It develops, manufactures, sells, and supports consumer electronics, computers, software, and various related services. Some of its best known products include:
- Internet Explorer
- Microsoft Office.
At Microsoft, those on the Autism Spectrum often find jobs as:
- software engineers
- build engineers
- lab engineers
- service engineers
- data scientists
- data analysts
Inspired by an employee with a son on the Spectrum, Microsoft implemented the Autism Hiring Program. This unique program includes a multi-day hands-on academy during which potential employees focus on:
- skills assessment
- team projects
Job candidates are given the chance to showcase their talents to hiring managers and team leaders.
OfficeMax, a subsidiary of Office Depot, Inc., is a retailer of office supplies. The company operates nearly 1,000 stores throughout the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.
OfficeMax is an official partner of Aspire, a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to providing a variety of services for people with disabilities. In 2013, the two organizations created a mock warehouse where potential employees with autism could learn the ropes of an OfficeMax job in a safe and supportive environment. OfficeMax has now expanded that program to more cities. It has placed hundreds of individuals with autism in stores around the country.
PepsiCo is a multinational corporation which deals with the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of beverages, snacks, and other food products. Some of PepsiCo’s subsidiaries include Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Gatorade, and the Quaker Oaks Company.
PepsiCo is committed to hiring talented and hard-working individuals, regardless of ability or disability. There are also a number of internships available for those still in school.
A subsidiary of Albertsons, Safeway is a large grocery store chain. Safeway’s approximately 900 stores are mostly located in the western U.S., though there are also a few locations in the Mid-Atlantic region of the Eastern Seaboard.
Safeway employs more than 10,000 adults with disabilities, including thousands on the Autism Spectrum. Larree Renda, the Executive Vice President and Chair of the Safeway Foundation, has stated, “Too many businesses don’t take the risk in hiring people with disabilities. At Safeway, we’ve embraced it and have had great success.”
Salesforce is a cloud-based software company that provides customer-relationship management services, and sells a variety of other applications focused on customer service. In 2018 and 2019, Salesforce was ranked #1 on Fortune’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.”
To hire and retain individuals on the Autism Spectrum, Salesforce has partnered with Spectrum Works, a nonprofit which provides career training for people with autism. Interestingly, Spectrum Works also uses Salesforce products to streamline its own organization.
Officially known as “Systems, Applications, & Products in Data Processing,” SAP is a multinational software corporation. It creates software meant to help companies manage customer relations and business operations. Headquartered in Germany, SAP has offices in 180 countries.
SAP is often recognized as one of the best employers for diversity, and autism is no exception. The company is home to the groundbreaking Autism at Work program, which integrates those on the Autism Spectrum into every aspect of the SAP workforce. According to SAP’s website, upwards of 200 current employees are employed via the Autism at Work program.
Specialisterne USA is one of the best employers for people with ASD. The company is entirely based upon using the characteristics of those with autism to create a competitive edge in the business market. Specialisterne — which is Danish for “The Specialists” — provides services such as data conversion, software testing, and quality control to a global collection of businesses.
Because of the nature of the company’s services, Specialisterne USA provides a professional environment in which employees with ASD are appreciated and incorporated into projects big and small. Indeed, employees with autism are integral to Specialisterne USA’s success. The company routinely assesses and trains people on the Autism Spectrum to join their business sector.
- the Target discount store
- the SuperTarget hypermarket
- smaller stores formerly known as CityTarget and TargetExpress
Unlike Walmart (which also makes this list), Target focuses less on low, low prices, and more on meeting the needs of “younger, image-conscious shoppers.”
Target is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace that is best able to serve a diverse community. Those interested in working in Target stores or for the Target Corporation should follow the application process as outlined on the company’s website.
Ultranauts Inc. was founded by two MIT students. It provides a full suite of assurance and engineering services to a variety of organizations, from hyper-growth startups to Fortune 500 companies. Its specialities include:
- quality program strategy
- big data analytics
- healthcare data analytics, among other things.
As stated on its website, Ultranauts Inc. is “on a mission to prove that neurodiversity, including autism, is a competitive advantage to business.” To achieve this mission, Ultranauts has built the world’s first fully remote workplace for neurodiverse talent. A whopping 75% of Ultranauts’ employees are on the Autism Spectrum.
Vodafone is a London-based multinational telecommunications company. Between Vodafone and its partners, the company’s services are available in 77 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. With upwards of 313 million customers, Vodafone is the world’s fourth largest mobile operator group.
In recent years, Vodafone has begun to actively hire employees on the Autism Spectrum. The company has also taken huge strides with training managers and others in leadership roles on the best ways to communicate with different types of workers.
Walgreens is an American company which operates the second biggest pharmacy store in the country. It specializes in filling prescriptions, offers photo services and sells health and wellness products. Walgreens boasts nearly 9,300 stores throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
People with autism who are interested in working for Walgreens should contact the company’s REDI program. Short for “Retail Employees with Disabilities,” REDI works with local agencies to provide potential employees with specific skill training. It also provides an evaluation to ensure each person is placed into a role within the company that’s appropriate for them.
Walmart is a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, grocery stores, and retail warehouses (Sam’s Club). The corporation is the largest in the world by revenue. It operates nearly 12,000 stores in 27 countries (and under 55 different names!).
As stated on Walmart’s website, “At Walmart, we believe we are best equipped to help our associates, customers, and the communities we serve live better when we really know them. That means understanding, respecting, and valuing diversity — unique styles, experiences, identities, ideas, and opinions — while being inclusive of all people.” Walmart has a score of 100% on the Disability Equality Index. Prospective employees with autism should not feel intimidated about applying for a role in the company.
Willis Towers Watson
Willis Towers Watson is the world’s third largest insurance broker. The Irish-domiciled company boasts headquarters in London and offices worldwide. It focuses mainly on insurance brokerage, advisory, and risk management.
As is the case with many companies on this list, Willis Towers Watson is one of a growing number of organizations that have become part of the Autism @ Work Employer Roundtable. As such, the company has implemented hiring initiatives with the goal of reducing the currently 80% unemployment rate among those with autism.
A subsidiary of Publicis, Zenith Optimedia is an advertising and public relations company. It “blends data, technology, and brilliant specialists to scout out new opportunities, solve complex challenges, and grow your business.” Its services include data and analytics, media planning, value optimization, and more across 95 markets.
Zenith is committed to hiring “brilliant specialists” — that is, straight-talking people who prefer to keep things simple and are always positive. Zenith recognizes that individuals of all abilities can fit this description. It has implemented more inclusive hiring practices which include phone or Skype interviews and project-based interviews as opposed to verbal interviews. It has also developed a variety of other accommodations.