Business

SAP in autism recruitment drive

SAP logo at the firm's headquarters in Walldorf near Heidelberg, south-western Germany
Image caption SAP believes people with autism can give it an advantage

German software company SAP says it hopes to recruit hundreds of people with autism, saying they have a unique talent for information technology.

The firm said that by 2020, 1% of its global workforce of 65,000 employees would be people with autism.

Autism is a developmental disorder that can cause problems with social interaction and physical behaviour.

However, some people with the condition are highly intelligent and have a keen attention to detail.

SAP executive Luisa Delgado said the company believed that "innovation comes from the edges".

She added: "Only by employing people who think differently and spark innovation will SAP be prepared to handle the challenges of the 21st Century."

SAP has already hired six people with autism at its office in Bangalore, India, where they work as software testers.

The firm said its productivity had increased as a result of their efforts, and it now plans to take on more such staff in other countries.

The recruitment drive is being undertaken in partnership with Specialisterne, a Danish social organisation that helps people with autism find work with information technology companies.

Autistic spectrum disorders, including Asperger's syndrome, are thought to affect about 1% of the population worldwide.

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