January 24, 2022

Neuroatypical employees are a talent pool for the company

Stigmatized for their lack of sociability or their behavioral differences, people with neuroatypics, high intellectual potential (HPI), Asperger’s, DYS and suffering from other attention deficit disorders with or without hyperactivity (ADHD) are candidates that recruiters welcome with a certain reluctance. However, they constitute a pool of talent for companies, provided that the latter adapt to them and employ them in the positions in which they excel.

After studying engineering at the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Rouen, Arnaud Khun started working on safety and the environment for a building company. This first professional experience ended after a year. “I had a lot of communication difficulties with my colleagues, I was told that I was not showing my emotions enough”, he explains.

While looking for a new job, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s, an autism spectrum disorder. He has also had a hearing disability since birth, for which he has been fitted with a hearing aid. His life took on new impetus when Pôle emploi spoke to him about a somewhat special training as a developer in artificial intelligence (AI). A course developed as part of the free and professional training in AI organized by the Microsoft AI Schools by Simplon in seven months of courses and one year of work-study training in a company, intended for job seekers in initial training or retraining . “In 2019, we were thinking about how to engage people with Asperger’s disease in the company after their studies, as an extension of Aspie Friendly, the autism inclusion program in universities”, says Philippe Trotin, director of the Handicap and digital accessibility mission at Microsoft.

Complications with containment

“We imagined doing a promotion for ‘atypical intelligences’, including Asperger’s, HPI, ADHD and DYS, suffering from attention disorders, dyspraxia or dyslexia, etc. “ From the 2020 class, eight people have finally graduated and are now working as AI developers in digital companies. A ninth dropped out.

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The candidates, identified by Pôle emploi and various networks and associations, were selected after two tests, one of interpersonal skills (motivation, autonomy, etc.), the other of know-how (level in math, abstraction capacity…). “The group was very heterogeneous, both in neurodiversity and in profiles. It was made up of men and women aged 21 to 39, from baccalaureate to master’s level, and even a doctorate ”, details Frédéric Bardeau, president and co-founder of Simplon.co.

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