22 November 2023

Engineering and technology needs to be more inclusive for neurodivergent people

A new report, published by the UK Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), provides practical guidance to STEM employers to create a more inclusive working environment.

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The report – which is based on qualitative research  – found that many neurodivergent people are reluctant to be open at work due to stigma and say they face a range of challenges.

Many also find being part of an under-represented group magnifies the challenges, and that employers within the sector often miss the opportunity to benefit from specific strengths associated with neurodiversity.

It also highlights that not all workplace challenges that neurodivergent engineers and technicians face are related to the specifics of their neurotype – and it points out that challenges result from a range of other factors, including lack of awareness and understanding; neurotypical approaches and expectations being the standard for workplace behaviour; accessing workplace adaptations; and the impact of all these on sustaining good mental health and well-being.

Dr Laura Norton, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the IET, says, 'Neurodivergent engineers and technicians bring many and varied strengths to their work. Too often, however, these strengths are not recognised or appreciated by managers, colleagues or employers.

'There is a huge opportunity awaiting employers and teams in the engineering and technology sector who are willing to understand and address the needs of their neurodivergent staff and colleagues. We hope this study helps increase awareness and understanding, and spurs action towards realising that opportunity.'

Download the report.