Revolutionising Recruitment: The Age of Neurodiverse Applicants


Organisations are beginning to understand the value of diversity, especially in societies across the world that seek and demand this awareness. There has been an increase in efforts geared towards this social consciousness, as evidenced in organisational investments made in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices. These initiatives are often centred on diversity of identities such as gender and race. While supporting diversity of identities is fundamental, it is also essential to understand how to appreciate and support neurodiversity – simply perceived, the diversity of thought.

Neurodiversity can aid an organisation’s potential to innovate and problem-solve. However, many neurodiverse employees have encountered difficulties in their experiences of getting hired, being supported, and progressing in their careers. Employing neurodivergent people can provide organisations with a competitive advantage that yields measurable benefits, both financially and in workplace culture.

What is neurodiversity?

Neurodiversity holds the idea that certain people have learning and thinking differences instead of inferiorities. It refers to people with variations of learning differences such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, Autism etc. but emphasises that they are not flawed. One of the most common forms of these – Autism, is thought to affect between 1 and 2% of people globally. Neurodiverse people approach their lived experiences uniquely, are exceptionally intelligent and lead rich and meaningful lives. Neurodiversity is often misconceived and misunderstood as a barrier to learning rather than explored and considered by each condition.

Neurodiverse Hires

Several neurodiverse people struggle to find employment or once hired, acclimate to social or cultural aspects of the workplace. It is estimated that 15% of the United Kingdom’s population is neurodivergent and that the unemployment rate for neurodivergent persons is at 80%. As organisations realise the value that neurodiverse individuals add, they have created advanced programmes and hiring initiatives that focus on recruiting them and these being long-lasting hires. The effect is not only beneficial for neurodiverse employees but all employees with disabilities.

Best Practices

Each organisation’s programmes or initiatives may vary, and depending on the type and level of roles, some best practices have been noted:

Amending the interview process

Recruitment practices should begin by identifying the candidate’s skills and how their challenges can be accommodated. Particularly, weak social skills and overall difficulty with interviewing skills can conceal a candidate’s capabilities.

Customising support

The reality is that not many organisations have the capacity or available resources to help neurodiverse employees be successful despite their awareness. A challenge is in holistic understanding and awareness. While there is little data that exists on neurodiversity in South Africa, 2016 research published in the Lancet medical journal estimated that sub-Saharan Africa has noted an increase of more than 70% in the number of children with developmental disabilities since 1990. It becomes increasingly important that organisations ensure that colleagues are aware, accepting, and thoughtful of neurodiverse people’s different needs. A common misconception around neurodiversity is in line with disability and discrimination legislation – making adjustments within an organisation instead of seeing it as an overall benefit.

Conversations about neurodiversity

More formal steps towards improving neurodiversity and ensuring employees with different abilities and needs are catered for are through programmes. According to a 2021 article by Forbes, more and more autism employment initiatives have been launched by major employers over the past five years. One such high-profile initiative – Autism at Work, has extended to twenty of the largest companies in the Unites States of America. It is a further requirement that Human Resources (HR) directors think about more than just taking advantage of the skills that neurodiverse hires bring but being meaningfully supportive – the implementation of soft skills training. Starting a conversation through programmes is a critical driver of awareness.

Reworking and -thinking practices or training about neurodiversity within an organisation consumes time and resources. It is also unfair to consider neurodiverse employees as supernatural additions to the workforce but more valuable to carefully job match, amplify their natural strengths, arrange for managers who help them, and cultivate organisations that support them.

Professional Sourcing has extensive recruitment experience in the engineering and ICT industries. Contact us about opportunities available in these sectors.

Search for leadership roles and foreign skills

The global rise in remote working and online collaboration highlights recruiters’ interest in professionals with international experience and valuable skills required in global markets.

For example, organisations may seek foreign-language speakers, translators and interpreters in diverse sectors, from education and technology to business and finance. However, these language skills are particularly hard to find locally.

According to the critical skills survey, the most in-demand foreign languages are French (29%), German (18%), Mandarin (14%), Italian (10%), Spanish (10%) and Dutch (4%).

Demand for C-suite executive roles and senior financial leadership roles is also on the increase. Preference is given to highly-skilled candidates with extensive niche market experience, regional or international, in competitive markets such as business, finance, ICT, manufacturing and mining.

The top sought-after key leadership positions mentioned in the critical skills survey are Chief Operating Officer (24%), Chief Financial Officer (24%), Chief Executive Officer (19%) and Chief Technology Officer (19%).

Other critical skills included on the list are defined by top-tier accountancy roles such as Chartered Accountant (CA), tax professional, financial accountant, forensic accountant, external auditor and internal auditor.

Professional Sourcing specialises in executive placements within the African continent. Get in touch to find out more about current C-suite vacancies.

Professional Sourcing can assist with the recruitment process during and after the pandemic. Our team has a strong reputation for recruitment expertise within our specialisation areas. Visit for more info.

Professional Sourcing can assist with the recruitment process during and after the pandemic. Our team has a strong reputation for recruitment expertise within our specialisation areas.

Professional Sourcing can assist with the recruitment process during and after the pandemic. Our team has a strong reputation for recruitment expertise within our specialisation areas. Visit for more info.

Professional Sourcing has a strong reputation for highly developed recruitment expertise within our specialisation areas. We develop strong long-term relationships with our loyal clients. Allow us to help you deal with your frustrations of a lengthy hiring process.

Professional Sourcing is a top-tier South African-based recruitment agency operating internationally, IPM accredited, LEVEL 2 BEE RATED and 51% Black Owned.

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