Swindon MP works with GAIN and Zurich to create job opportunities

By Jessica Durston - 17 June 2022

  • Robert Buckland delivering his speech at Zurich's London event

    Robert Buckland delivering his speech at Zurich's London event

Sir Robert Buckland MP has joined forces with GAIN (Group for Autism, Insurance, Investment and Neurodiversity) and Zurich to create job opportunities for neurodiverse people across the sector.

SIr Robert, attended an event hosted by Zurich in London earlier this week, where he delivered a speech around his work with the business, and with GAIN.

He explained: "I am delighted that the insurance industry, championed by Zurich, who are based in my South Swindon Constituency, are taking the lead in creating opportunities for neurodiverse people across their sector. 

“With the help of fantastic new organizations like GAIN we will finally be able to harness the immense talents of neurodiverse people across the UK, driving the insurance sector forward, whilst also making it a more inclusive environment. 

“During my time as an MP, I have campaigned hard for the rights of those with autism and other neurodivergent individuals. I look forward to continuing that work alongside GAIN as we seek to create a workforce that better reflects the neurodiverse society in which we live." 

A recent future skills report by Kingston University, in partnership with YouGov, consulted business leaders, who indicated their top five employee skills of the future were as follows:

  • Problem-solving – 77%
  • Communication – 66%
  • Critical thinking – 64%
  • Digital skills – 64%
  • Analytical skills – 63%

As business looks to the future, neurodivergent individuals are said to be well-placed to offer these key skills, such as a methodical approach to tasks, a strong attention to detail, creative thinking, as well as looking at situations from a different perspective.

The Kingston report found a lack of opportunity and access though, has resulted in fewer than 1 in 7 neurodiverse individuals finding meaningful work.

When focusing on autism as a singular condition of neurodiversity, ONS figures state that only 22% autistic adults are in employment.

Experts say there has never been a better time to meet the demands of business with the skills of neurodiverse individuals. A recent Harvard Business Review cited research showing that, when matched with an appropriate job, autistic people can be 140% more productive than a neurotypical employee.

With the help of GAIN, the industry is seeking to open-up more opportunities for neurodivergent individuals to access employment. GAIN says its mission is to bring about a radical change in the employment prospects within the insurance, investment, pensions, and actuarial sectors of financial services for neurodivergent individuals – including but not restricted to those with autism, dyslexia, ADHD and dyspraxia.

By launching this industry initiative with GAIN, industry leaders aim to not only secure the workforce of the future but protect the UK’s global competitiveness.

Barbara Schonhofer, Co-chair of GAIN said: “We welcome this industry-led drive towards neuroinclusive workplaces. There is a clear match between the talent needs of the industry and the skills and capabilities of neurodivergent individuals and until this time that match has generally not been made.

"As well as problems with getting employment, many neurodivergent individuals, already in the industry, ‘mask’ their differences, when those differences are often their strengths. By partnering with GAIN businesses can accomplish a lasting change both the individual and the industry.”

Tim Bailey, CEO Zurich, added: “We’re proud to be a founder member of GAIN. We know that our neurodivergent colleagues within Zurich bring a strong and differentiated skillset.

"We also know there is more that Zurich and the wider industry can do to make the world of work more accessible to all. Working with GAIN enables us to bring together insights from real life experiences alongside a wide range of resources we look forward to drawing on.”

Members of the public are invited to join a growing number of organisations working with GAIN to enhance business through the skills of abilities of neurodivergent individuals.

People can hear more about the work of GAIN and how to meet their future skills gap, by registering their place at the GAIN Neurodiversity Expo on 23 June 2022 from 9.15am (UTS+1) by visiting: www.gaintogether.org/Expo.

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