Entrepreneur

Why Microsoft, Chase and Others Are Hiring More People With Autism

It's good for business, they say: Adding 'neurodiversity' means bringing in employees with particularly coveted skills.
Source: Viktor Koen
Viktor Koen

Chargeback loves obsessive employees. The Utah-based company investigates and documents credit card disputes -- every time someone claims a card was used without their permission -- and so its analysts must be persistent and nitpicky, with a sharp eye for detail that not everyone has.

Related: 25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

That’s why its president, Khalid El-Awady, recently hired a 36-year-old analyst named Carrie Tierney. She breezed through training and handles technical data, computer requirements and repetitive tasks with ease, in about half the time new analysts usually take. “We’ve been very, very impressed,” says El-Awady. The experience has convinced him to consider more employees with Tierney’s abilities -- and, by medical textbook standards, disabilities. 

Tierney is on the autism what they now call neurodiverse workers. It’s still the early days, but more and more companies say these individuals have proven to be a competitive advantage due to their creative, detail-oriented and technically adept traits. “It’s fertile ground,” says Susanne Bruyère of the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University. 

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