Autism in the workplace - Business Disability Forum launch new report on current practice

29 February 2016

Press release: 29 February 2016

London, UK – Business Disability Forum (BDF) is pleased to announce the launch of its latest research report: Square holes for square pegs: Current practice in employment and autism.

Created by Daniel Wiles, Disability Consultant at BDF, the report examines current practice in the employment of people with autism amongst BDF’s membership organisations and makes key recommendations for employers when adopting inclusive practice.

In creating this report, BDF spoke to a wide variety of organisations from different industry sectors, autism and employment specialists and individuals with autism to establish current best practice.

This report has uncovered many important factors in the recruitment and retention of people with autism, including

  • the value of using work trials;
  • the benefits line managers can gain from managing people with autism;
  • the importance of autism awareness based on removing barriers and making adjustments in the workplace; and
  • the importance of translation in communication between employee and employer;

The research draws attention to the need for autism awareness in the workplace and the importance of removing barriers for individuals with autism. Barriers are created for people with autism by the way neurotypical people communicate, organise work and create the sensory environment in the workplace.

The report also highlights the importance of translation between employer and employee. It is best practice to ensure employees have support from their line managers and the organisation. Not surprisingly, the research found that allowing employees to be their whole selves in the workplace will in turn lead to increased job satisfaction and better performance in their role.

This report recommends the development of further guidance for employers based on the findings, which will enable BDF to continue supporting employers in the recruitment and retention of people with autism.

Speaking about the research, Daniel Wiles, author of the report said:

“This research is a good starting point for looking at current practice in employment and autism. It has identified that barriers can me removed by making adjustments to communications, environments and workplace structures. This is not an exhaustive process for making adjustments, but a workplace awareness of autism based on removing barriers that will benefit both employers and employees.”

Click here to download a PDF of Square holes for square pegs: Current practice in employment and autism


Notes to editors:

1. Business Disability Forum is a not-for-profit business consortium that represents some 300 organisations that employ 20% of the UK workforce. We have more than twenty years’ experience of working with public and private sector employers and service providers. For more information about the Forum please visit:

2. For press enquiries or to arrange interviews, please contact Emily Jackson, Press Officer on or call 020 7403 3020.

3. If you would like to contact Daniel Wiles, Disability Consultant at Business Disability Forum and author of the report, Square holes for Square pegs: Current practice in employment and autism, email or call 020 7403 3020.

4. For more information about BDF’s upcoming events, visit:

5. For more information and to register for BDF’s upcoming Conference: Recruiting and retaining disabled talent, visit: