29 February 2024

The RCSLT has welcomed the publication of The Buckland Review of Autism Employment and hope that this report is the start of action to better support autistic adults and neurodivergent adults in the workplace. 

Commissioned by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride, and led by Sir Robert Buckland KC, the review looked at how employers recruit, retain and develop autistic people, identifying barriers to this happening and developing effective ways to overcome those barriers, with the aim of significantly improving the autism employment rate over the next 5 years.   

Department for Work and Pensions figures show only around 30 percent of working age autistic people are in employment, compared with half of all disabled people and 8 in 10 non-disabled people, despite the majority saying they would like to be employed.    

The review considered five themes 

  1. What initiatives can help to raise awareness, reduce stigma and capitalise on the productivity of autistic employees 
  2. What more could be done to prepare autistic people effectively for beginning or returning to a career 
  3. How employers can adjust recruitment practices to meet the needs of autistic applicants   
  4. How employers can support autistic people already in their workforce 
  5. How employers can encourage and support autistic staff to develop and progress their career.  

The recommendations  

The Review outlines 19 recommendations for workplaces to become more inclusive of neurodiversity so more autistic people can start and stay in work. It includes the views of hundreds of autistic people and employers. 

RCSLT Comment  

The RCSLT welcomes this report. We hope that this report is the start of action to better support autistic adults and neurodivergent adults in the workplace. 

We were pleased to have the opportunity to provide written evidence to the review and meet with Robert Buckland and his team to brief them.   

We recognise that significant work is needed to better support autistic adults in the workplace, and this includes within our own profession. 

From RCSLT member data, 14% of SLTs have told us that they have a disability, difference or difficulty. Autistic speech and language therapists have told us about the significant barriers they often face in the workplace, in finding and keeping a job and in progressing in their career. We have been working with SLTs from the UK Neurodivergent Speech & Language Therapy Professionals Peer Support Group (NDSLTUK) to support the development of guidance for Neurodivergent Speech and Language Therapists in the Workplace. We hope to publish this in the summer. 

Read the full report