Many workers hesitant to reveal their neurodiversity to employers says IOSH

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Businesses are being urged to cultivate an environment in which employees feel they can freely discuss their neurodiversity, based on recent findings by IOSH.

A new survey has shed light on the reluctance of neurodiverse workers to share their conditions with their superiors.

Key findings highlight neurodiversity concealment

Results indicate that over two-thirds of those with neurodiverse conditions have not informed their current employer of their status.

In contrast, fewer than one-third would choose to mention it during a job application process.

Ruth Wilkinson, who holds the position of Head of Policy at IOSH, stated: “The results of our survey are incredibly concerning.”

She highlighted the concerning fact that: “people feel they have to keep their neurodiverse conditions hidden.”

Awareness initiatives spotlight neurodiversity

It’s worth noting that one in every seven individuals is believed to be neurodiverse.

This includes conditions such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and dyspraxia.

October is significant for neurodiversity, with events like Dyslexia Awareness Week from 2-8 October, Dyspraxia Awareness Week between 9-15 October, and ADHD Awareness Month spanning the entire month.

IOSH utilised LinkedIn for two separate polls to understand the comfort level of individuals discussing their neurodiverse conditions at their workplace.

The data showed that 70% chose not to discuss their condition with their employer.

Furthermore, 72% were hesitant or would opt against declaring it on a job application.

Ruth further added: “It clearly demonstrates that businesses need to do more to drive positive and inclusive workplace cultures.”

She emphasised the importance of valuing workers and their talents: “having the right culture, leadership, and processes in place to support those who are neurodiverse… is important.”

IFSJ Comment

The findings from IOSH are a critical reminder for organisations worldwide.

Neurodiversity is an integral part of the human experience, with a significant proportion of the global population identifying as neurodiverse.

Recognising, understanding, and valuing these differences are essential for fostering inclusive and productive work environments.

Encouraging openness and reducing stigma around neurodiversity can lead to richer team dynamics, innovative problem solving, and improved wellbeing for all employees.

For the fire and safety industry, where diverse perspectives can greatly enhance problem-solving and risk management, it is especially crucial.

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