Nearly half (45 per cent) of Canadian autistic employees say they have to mask their autistic traits at work, according to a new survey by OnePoll for autism advocacy organization Auticon.

The survey, which polled more than 950 autistic adults globally, found among all respondents, only 44 per cent said they could be their authentic selves at work. Only seven per cent said they have an autistic role model in the workplace.

When asked about the most challenging aspect of their career, more than a third (35 per cent) of all respondents cited settling into a new organization, while 31 per cent cited the recruitment process.

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Although 70 per cent of all respondents said they’ve disclosed they’re autistic to someone at work, only 30 per cent of these employees said they’ve disclosed to human resources. More than half (56 per cent) of Canadian respondents said they’ve been treated differently by colleagues and 42 per cent said they’ve been discriminated against in the workplace.

“Autism is still widely misunderstood, resulting in stereotyping of autistic people,” said Meeta Thareja, chief people and social innovation officer at Auticon, in a press release. “This often perpetuates fears about what it means to employ neurodivergent people. . . . Our aim ultimately is to enable the wider cultural shifts necessary for organizations and our societies to benefit from alternative thinkers.”

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