Tech company looks to hire those with autism, Asperger's

May 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The software company SAP says its commitment to diversity now includes people with autism. ABC7 News looked into why SAP has a new recruitment plan.

Trying to find a mistake in software programs takes a special skill, and that's why SAP, a global software company, wants to hire hundreds of people with autism or Asperger's syndrome.

Jesse Saperstein is a motivational speaker with a form of autism who helps other people understand his world.

"If one semicolon is out of place, the whole thing just crashes. So they are very good at detecting these minor details," said Jesse Saperstein.

"It's an opportunity for us to work with a different group of people and use those particular skills that they have to make our organization stronger, so I think it's a win-win situation all around," said SAP spokesperson Robin Meyerhoff.

But people with autism and Asperger's are susceptible to meltdowns which start at an early age. Adults can have short tempers and a hard time taking social cues. But Saperstein says the pros far outweigh the cons.

"I'll give you an example. Steve Jobs, he had a lot of Asperger's qualities. Sometimes poor hygiene, temper tantrums, and he was difficult to work with obviously, but he created some of our modern devices," said Saperstein.

SAP says it's already testing the waters with pilot programs in India and Ireland.

"We'll take the learnings from those communities and whatever pros and cons there were and apply them globally," said Meyerhoff.

It's a chance to utilize an untapped human resource and it follow's SAP's belief that innovation comes from the edges.


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