Building the Neurodiversity Talent Pipeline for the Future of Work | MIT Sloan Management Review

Talent Acquisition

This article addresses an under-discussed facet of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) — neurodiversity. Neurodivergent individuals, whose brain functions differ from the neurotypical, encompass conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD, dyscalculia, and autism spectrum disorders, to name a few. The article explores the intersection of the labor market shortage and the high unemployment rates among neurodivergent individuals—highlighting how an estimated 30% to 40% of neurodivergent adults are currently unemployed. The authors note that: “Harnessing the potential of neurodivergent individuals could help employers build a more future-ready workforce. Creativity, lateral (or nonlinear) thinking, reverse engineering to solve problems, complex visual-spatial skills, systems thinking, intuitive insights, hyperfocus, and multisensory pattern recognition — distinct areas in which neurodivergent candidates might excel — all stand to become increasingly important as artificial intelligence embeds itself into our daily lives. The authors suggest that community colleges could be pivotal in bridging this gap, as a significant number of neurodivergent individuals start their higher education journey there. Collaboration between community colleges, employers, and local economic development organizations is proposed to create neurodiversity-friendly pathways to employment. As a bonus, this Deloitte Insights article shares ideas for building a neuro-inclusive workplace. This additional Gartner article provides six ideas to increase development inclusion for neurodivergent employees.