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Microsoft is piloting a new policy to hire people with autism, for full-time positions in its Redmond campus, announced by Mary Ellen Smith, the company’s corporate VP for worldwide operations.
“At Microsoft, we believe that diversity enriches our performance, our products and services, the communities where we live and work, and the lives of our employees,” she said in a blog post.
Smith’s son was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. She added that it was Microsoft’s inclusive environment that attracted her to the company in the first place.
In association with Specialisterne, the pilot will focus on hiring people with autism for full-time, Redmond-based Microsoft positions.
“People with autism bring strengths that we need at Microsoft, each individual is different, some have amazing ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth or excel in math or code,” she explained.
The company has already been working to hire people with disabilities for roles in event services, transportation, and food services – where attrition has been a mere 1%.
“We believe there is a lot of untapped potential in the marketplace and we are encouraged by the strong level of readiness from the vendors who cater to this segment.”
Earlier this year, the company had released its workforce statistics, revealing an employee base dominated by white males. CEO Satya Nadella had promised a focus on diversity, including a stronger focus on equal pay and equal opportunity for equal work.