The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has voiced hiring people with ASD as a potential answer to stopping Cyber Attacks. The Cyber security skills gap is expected to reach 1.5 million globally by 2019, according to (ISC)2, meaning a shortage of employees but an abundance of need.
Many people with Autism Spectrum Disorder have a specific gift and aptitude for cybersecurity, but they are regularly overlooked in the job market.
Mike Spain, director at Cyber Exchange knows that ‘neurodiverse’ adults can make a huge difference. The term refers to individuals with ‘spectrum’ conditions including autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and OCD.
Neurodiverse individuals have the abilities desired for Cyber Security: cognitive pattern recognition, outside-the -box thinking, attention to detail, logical and methodical thinking, focus and integrity, says Spain. “Diverse teams are more productive, more creative and more successful,” and the cybersecurity sector “could potentially be the ideal place to benefit from neurodiverse talent”, he says.
With this in mind, Spain started the Cyber Neurodiversity Group with the idea that hiring processes need to change. “Recruitment practice, processes and systems are largely designed around social skills, an area many struggle with.”
Spain points out that some firms have seen a 50% increase in productivity on certain tasks performed by neurodiverse individuals, “which is the kind of figure that makes the board listen”.
“We must ensure a pathway exists from early years right through to employment and retention for them to develop their skills so they can be deployed in the right way and the sector can benefit from this talent.”
We agree with Mike Spain, and can only hope positive employment pathways continue to expand for those with ASD.