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SAP hires more autistic people

May 21, 2013

German software giant SAP has announced it will recruit more autistic people over the next couple of years. The company claimed having such people on board would give it a competitive edge.

Logo of German software giant SAP on headquarters building Photo: Uli Deck dpa/lsw
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Walldorf-based software firm SAP announced Tuesday it would employ 100 autistic people globally over the next seven years. The German DAX-listed company said those people would be able to do a great job in programming and quality checks.

The World trade Organization defines autism as a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

But SAP said it believed autistic people could help the company to explore different lines of thinking. "SAP thinks that employing people with autism can give us a competitive edge and can help such colleagues pursue a meaningful way of earning a living," the firm said in a statement.

Part of a larger drive

"The recruitment scheme is a chance to find extremely specialized people," said SAP's Anke Wittenberg who's responsible for integration matters.

In 2011, SAP started a pilot project in its development laboratory in India where autistic people have been found to be very successful. More people with the disorder are to be employed this year in Ireland, the United States, Canada and Germany with a view of enhancing the teams' productivity as well as customer satisfaction.

SAP said it was cooperating with a Danish initiative called Specialisterne which has been aiming to get at least one million autistic persons employed worldwide.

hg/hc (Reuters, dpa)