Microsoft extends Autism and Inclusive Hiring Programme to UK

Today Microsoft UK announced the rollout of a new pilot programme focused on hiring people with neurodiverse conditions, including Autism or Asperger’s syndrome, for full-time UK based Microsoft positions. Microsoft UK will initially be hiring for 10 roles.

The UK programme will be modelled on the program that has been piloted in Microsoft head office in Redmond. Since last summer, Microsoft has hired 11 new employees who have autism in the United States. In the program, participants experience a unique interview process, where the ‘interview’ is structured as a multi-week academy to help put job candidates at ease and allow them to more fully demonstrate their skills.

“Microsoft’s mission is to help everyone on the planet achieve more, and by everyone, we mean everyone,” said Michel Van der Bel, Microsoft’s UK CEO. “One of the challenges facing the UK economy is building a skilled future workforce. We can achieve this aim much better if we have a wider appreciation of the skills that are out there. While each individual is different, many people with neurodiverse conditions have skills which include a strong ability to retain information and analyse data, as well as in-depth and detailed computational thinking skills. The possibilities of what we could create together are limitless.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined Microsoft’s three commitments to accessibility in an all-company mail in December, which includes being transparent and accountable about the accessibility of our products, embedding inclusive design into the fabric of how we design and build products and growing our inclusive culture at Microsoft. By hiring people of all abilities into Microsoft, we will build an employee base that reflects the external customer base where 1 billion+ have disabilities.

‘Kyle Schwaneke, an Xbox software engineer recruited in the first US cohort of Microsoft’s autism hiring programme.’
Kyle Schwaneke, an Xbox software engineer recruited in the first US cohort of Microsoft’s autism hiring programme.

Attracting, recruiting and retaining a diverse group of employees is not only beneficial to making Microsoft more inclusive, but also helps us design and build products for all our customers around the globe. “By diversifying our workforce and focusing on the particular needs of a small group of people, we find that we can innovate and create a team of broader problem solvers equipped to better understand and meet the needs of our diverse customers.” said Theresa McHenry, HR Director, Microsoft UK.

If you’re interested in applying for the pilot programme, you can email your CV to: msautism@microsoft.com. If you want to read more about the Autism program, please check out this article about Microsoft employees in the United States who have been part of the program.

You can find out more about Microsoft’s commitment to diversity and inclusion here.