Why a neurodiverse workforce should become the norm in tech
As awareness builds around the positive impact of neurodiversity in the workplace, organisations should consider how they can embrace diversity.
For diversity to become the norm in all businesses, organisations need to understand the positive impact it can deliver because it is not only the right thing to do, it is good for business. However, neurodiversity is still an area that is often neglected and overlooked in cybersecurity recruitment and the wider technology sector.
Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that global spending on cybersecurity products and services will continue its stratospheric growth and exceed $1 trillion by 2021. At this pace of growth, approximately 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs would currently go unfilled. This projected shortage will leave companies in a rush to fill positions as soon as possible —which is another reason why organisations should be looking to bridge the skills gap and utilise the neurodiversity talent pool.
However, most organisations focus on the challenges that are often associated with building neurodiversity in the workplace, rather than on the positive outcomes that neurodiverse employees can enable. Neurodiverse people have specialised skills that are vital in the digital era, including high levels of creativity or exceptional levels of concentration or logic, and they can provide unique perspectives in problem-solving tasks. Neurodiverse people can have a unique way of thinking when it comes to reasoning, identifying patterns and evaluating possibilities when making decisions.
By creating a workforce that includes neurodiverse people, businesses can achieve far more. For successful outcomes, organisations can invest in specific equipment such as headphones that will help people with neurodiversity to think more clearly. Alternatively, businesses can provide quiet places and flexible work hours so that neurodiverse people are better able to provide full attention to the task at hand.
It can be a challenge for neurodiverse people to excel at roles in many companies. A recent study found that 32 per cent of UK employees said their companies did not offer additional support or assistance for those with neurodiverse backgrounds.
Organisations can address this issue by establishing programmes that help to train people with neurodiversity and offer support for fulfilling their potential. Existing programmes such as DXC’s Dandelion Program in Australia (which is designed to build valuable IT skill and careers for people with autism and the companies partnership with the National Autistic Society in the UK, can help neurodiverse people to pursue digital, IT and cybersecurity jobs through a supported internship alongside people – both internal and external – that are able to coach candidates and advise employers. This helps businesses to benefit from the skills of a neurodiverse workforce, whilst giving those individuals the support they need to thrive and contribute to the fullest.
This article was contributed by Mark Hughes, Senior VP and GM of Security, DXC Technology
Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.