Autistic people held back by job interview questions - report

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ambiguous interview questions and application forms are keeping autistic people out of work, a report has found.

While 53.6% of all disabled people are in work, only 30% of autistic people are, the latest official figures show.

One autistic person told BBC News having more tick-boxes in applications might help him to land an interview.

The government has urged employers to "get behind" all recommendations set out in Sir Robert Buckland's report on autism in the workplace.

Autism is a developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. The Buckland review says there are around a million people with an autism diagnosis in the UK.

Adam Murphy, from Cheltenham, says he is ready for a job after more than 20 years as a full-time carer for his son Ryan, who is autistic and has learning disabilities.

'Frustrating' lack of support

But Mr Murphy, who is also autistic, has applied for six jobs since October with no success so far.

He has difficulty filling out forms so usually asks to talk through application questions with an employer over the phone instead - but says some workplaces refuse his request.

"Somebody gave me feedback and said: 'Well, we can't help everybody because all autistic people are different, and we can't put reasonable adjustments in place for everybody'," Mr Murphy said.

Mr Murphy says having tick-boxes in applications instead of free-form text-boxes, and getting interview questions in advance, are among the other adjustments that would help him.

He describes the rejected requests for support as "really frustrating", adding: "If we're not putting the basics into place to begin with to allow those autistic people to apply, then that's failing them."