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Q&A: How to match job candidates on the autism spectrum (Includes interview)

The partnership enables companies using SAP Fieldglass solutions to hire and manage neurodiverse talent who have been sourced and trained by Daivergent.

Key to this mission is software development. SAP.iO helps innovators inside and outside of SAP build products, find customers, and change industries. To discover more, Digital Journal spoke with Vanessa Liu.

Digital Journal: What are the current rates for employment for young people with autism?

Vanessa Liu: Today, nearly 1 in 5 adults with autism are unemployed, and an estimated 50-70% of people on the autism spectrum experience long-term periods of unemployment. Daivergent is working to change that by unlocking the unique aptitude of people on the autism spectrum, and connecting companies to a high-quality workforce through its innovative platform, powered by SAP.

DJ: Why are the employment rates so low?

Liu:[ The employment rate for adults with autism tends to be lower due to a lack of understanding of their skill set match for workplace needs and the lack of accommodations in the workplace. Although the tides are changing, many companies do not have the resources to connect candidates on the spectrum with jobs they will excel at. With the disintermediating technologies available today, there is no reason why more adults on the autism spectrum should not be finding meaningful employment and why employers who need their talents should not be able to find them.

DJ: How can technology assist with this in general?

Liu:[Technology can assist with helping adults on the autism spectrum with finding work in a number of ways. First, the types of jobs that are available due to technology are completely different than they were 30 years ago. Today, there are many data-focused opportunities available that require excellent attention to detail, which is a skill set many adults on the spectrum excel at.

On another note, many roles are available remotely, which may sometimes be easier for an individual with autism to manage. Communicating via online channels can help those on the spectrum hone their social skills, which can eventually translate into soft skills at the workplace or in other aspects of their lives.

In terms of talent acquisition, recruitment and HR professionals now utilize technologies that were developed to handle large-scale hiring of employees. Until recently, there were none that were aimed specifically at neurodiverse job candidates. To address this, Daivergent created a technology platform that matches job candidates on the autism spectrum with roles that fit their skills and preferences.

DJ: What can Daivergent offer specifically?

Liu:[Daivergent provides adults with autism as contractors to clients seeking high accuracy and speed on tasks including data entry and online research. People with autism lend unusual strengths, like the ability to focus for long stretches on tasks requiring great attention to detail. While most people find these jobs tedious and tiring, adults with autism tend to shine in these roles.

DJ: What types of companies want to connect up?

Liu:[Many types of companies want to connect with neurodiverse talent, including technology companies, financial companies, and other types of companies that value attention to detail and focus in complex tasks.

DJ: Why was Daivergent founded?

Liu:[Daivergent was co-founded in December of 2017 by Byran Dai, who was inspired by his younger brother, Brandon, who is on the autism spectrum. Byran realized that his brother, and those like him on the spectrum, are the perfect candidates for certain high-complexity tasks. Daivergent provides a way for these adults to get into the workforce, and also provides a win-win solution for companies to employ American workers instead of outsourcing overseas.

DJ: What is the platform behind Daivergent and how does this make the service work?

Liu:[After developing its platform, Daivergent participated in SAP.iO Foundry, the early-stage venture arm of enterprise software company SAP, which is internationally recognized for its highly-regarded Autism at Work program. SAP.iO works with startups run by founders of diverse backgrounds, providing mentorship, resources and access to SAP’s technology and network.
Daivergent integrates into popular HR software like SAP SuccessFactors and Fieldglass to allow talent organizations seamless access to this neurodiverse population. It also now enables companies to reach candidates directly for the time through the Daivergent Employer Platform.

DJ: How would these technologies get brought to market by SAP, and drive a win-win-win ecosystem for SAP, its customers, and the startups themselves?

Liu:[Daivergent was one of eight startups participating in the Enterprise Social Impact cohort for SAP.iO Foundry New York, an accelerator for early-stage enterprise tech companies building solutions that incorporate business beyond bias and drive sustainability.

Partnering with SAP.iO Foundry has helped Daivergent to better understand enterprise priorities and decision-making to support go-to-market strategies. The partnership provides a win-win-win model because through this program, Daivergent, was given access to mentorship from enterprise giant SAP, and access to its customer base. It is a win for SAP as well, which now is able to integrate and provide an additional tool to its customers where there was formerly a need in the marketplace.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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