While as many as 1 in every 59 people is on the autism spectrum (CDC, 2018), only 40.8% of working age autistic Australians are employed (ABS, 2015). Autistic individuals are willing and able to work, but face barriers to employment in the traditional recruitment system.
This presentation will describe an autism specific hiring initiative conducted within a State Government Department in 2017 that saw the hire of eight full time autistic employees. The initiative involved partnering with a not-for-profit specialised in working with autistic individuals and conducting a three-phase alternative recruitment process that aimed to remove barriers experienced by those on the spectrum in the traditional process.
This presentation will offer a multi-faceted view on the success of initiative, including the perspectives from managers involved in the initiative, autistic employees who participated in the initiative, and the not-for-profit company involved in facilitating the initiative. Additionally, the presentation will include the results of a university study that investigated the impact of the initiative on the employees with autism and existing workforce using qualitative and quantitative methods (for example, looking at changes in organisational outcomes such as engagement, commitment and openness to diversity among existing staff as a result of the program).


Rebecca Flower

Research and Innovation Manager
Specialisterne Australia

Dr Rebecca Flower is the Research and Innovation Manager at Specialisterne Australia, a not-for-profit that works with organisations to create alternative pathways into careers for autistic individuals. Dr Flower has a background in psychology, with a focus on organisational psychology and autism in adulthood. Dr Flower was involved in implementing the 'RISE at DHHS' program through Specialisterne, and also worked alongside researchers at La Trobe University's Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre to conduct a study on the program.

Christian Hofmann

Principal Program Manager
Department of Health and Human Services

Chris Hofmann is a Program Manager within the Business Technology & Information Management group at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Chris has broad public and private sector experiences in organisational change management and project management with focus on technology and business transformation related complex projects. He is an avid advocate of inclusion and has been instrumental in the success of the 'Rise at DHHS' program, providing meaningful employment for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


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