Top career options for people with autism

Smiling male colleagues in 30s and 40s looking at computer

Today, many employers are challenged with finding enough quality employees for their roles. This means that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities may find doors opening to them that would have been closed only a few years ago.

People who have autism, for example, can be great employees and have a lot to contribute. Companies big and small have discovered this – in fact, Microsoft has a specific program tailored to hiring people on the spectrum, as do others.

As you might expect, jobs that are more “behind the scenes, ” structured and detail-oriented may be better for a person with autism. Ones that advertise flexibility and agility are typically not the right fit. However, it really depends on the person, as everyone is unique.

For some, a job in shipping or logistics with plenty of routine may make sense. Other opportunities that draw on knowledge of numbers and logic include computer science, accounting, engineering, commercial drawing and library science. For those who are more advanced, a career in research or as a scientist may be a possibility. Many of the jobs will require formal education but can ultimately pay very well and be personally rewarding.

Explore a few resources that outline opportunities and considerations for each:

31 Great Jobs for Autistic People in a Huge Range of Industries  

Choosing the Right Job for People with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome

30 Great Jobs for People on the Autism Spectrum

There are a few keys to success, for both people who have autism as well as their families and guardians:

  • Define success together. Is it a steady paycheck, enjoyable work, a new routine? Or something else?
  • Find a role that plays to strengths while minimizing weaknesses. For example, solo work may be more realistic than a job that requires frequent customer interaction. Regardless of the role, employers should understand and be willing to work with their employee and address issues as they arise.
  • Just like any job seeker, consider how the individual will market themselves to employers. If the job would typically require a portfolio for consideration, work with them to create one that shows their skills and creativity.
  • Get support before, during and after hire. For an individual with autism, it may not be enough to look at a job board and send in an application. Hands-on employment services can make a huge difference in connecting a person with a willing employer. These services can also provide support once a person is on a job, to help ensure they can keep it.

While obtaining a job as a person with autism can be a challenge, the rewards can be numerous for the candidate and their families. Employers benefit too, as studies show that employees with an intellectual or developmental disability are typically very loyal and productive, with minimal cost to accommodate.  

Employers, learn more: This free guide lays out the facts about hiring people with disabilities and provides the resources to help employers take the first step toward hiring people them.