Diversity and Inclusion  

How to better support neurodivergent staff

  • Describe some of the challenges of bringing neurodiverse people into the workplace
  • Explain what organisations can do to recruit neurodiverse people
  • Explain what people can do for neurodiverse people within organisations
How to better support neurodivergent staff

As a greater number of people begin to appreciate their own neurodiversity, and the industry becomes more aware of the need to adapt and encourage colleagues with neurodiverse conditions so that all sides can thrive, other advantages to facilitating neurodiversity in the workplace are also coming to the fore.

According to Johnny Timpson, financial inclusion commissioner, and co-founder of Gain (Group for Autism, Insurance, Investment and Neurodiversity), neurodiversity is “a term that covers a number of lifelong conditions that around one in seven of the population are living and working with. 

"While we all vary in terms of our neurocognitive ability (memory, ability to concentrate, time management, organisation skills, reasoning, communication) and have strengths and weaknesses in different aspects, for some of us the variation between the strengths and weaknesses is more pronounced.

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"This can be an advantage but can also be disabling and a cause of vulnerability,” says Timpson. 

Talent shortage

Laurie Edmans, also a financial inclusion commissioner and with Timpson a co-founder of Gain, feels the industry is suffering pressures that “have only been exacerbated by ‘the great resignation’ following Covid. Financial services, with the importance of data growing exponentially, has particularly acute challenges. 

“Against that background, the fact that only one in five autistic people, for example, ever get full time employment and many neurodivergent people – dyslexic, dyspraxic, autistic, ADHD, and others – ‘mask’ and are not able to develop their careers or use their talents fully, is a real waste. 

“Making the match between the untapped talents and attributes of neurodivergent people and the unmet talent needs of our industry is a great opportunity for both.” 

Amanda Kirby is an emeritus professor at University of South Wales, and chief executive and founder of Do-It, a company specialising in neurodiversity screening, training and profiling.

She agrees with Edmans: “It seems to me that we have a talent shortage globally and that we are missing out on a group of individuals who could potentially be providing new solutions but also being active members of society and productive.

"It is wasteful to exclude 20 per cent of the population who could be productive, and also doesn't seem to be financially prudent.”

So, given that there is a talent shortage that people with neurodiverse conditions can be matched with, what can be done about it?

Katherine Knowles, co-founder of insurance brokerage company Cura, has multiple disabilities and last year was diagnosed with autism. She says that raising greater awareness is central to tapping into the resource of skills offered by neurodiverse people. 


Knowles feels that stigma around neurodiversity is still an issue, and that raising awareness is vitally important in order to challenge the barriers that, as Kirby suggests, have kept at least 20 per cent of the population excluded from full-time employment.