Celebrating Neurodiversity

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Celebrating Neurodiversity

BNY Mellon Enterprise ESG Report 2021

Diversity spans much more than gender, ethnicity or race. It runs far deeper than that which is visible, to include mental abilities and cognitive differences. By viewing neurodiverse individuals, like those on the autism spectrum, as differently abled, rather than disabled, BNY Mellon is expanding the range of skills on our teams, reaching a growing pool of prospective employees and opening up opportunities for capable but often underemployed individuals. By valuing skills, potential and different lived experiences, we’re tapping into a broader spectrum of diversity, including neurodiversity, on two fronts. 

For several years, BNY Mellon has engaged a quality engineering firm whose neurodiverse teams include about 75% members on the autism spectrum. Based on that solid track record, we decided to collaborate on a customer-facing fund-management application. A joint team with 10 contractor professionals and an engagement manager from our Technology Enterprise Quality Engineering team – all with autism – completed the project. Inspired by the outcome, we’re now forming integrated teams of neurodiverse and neurotypical quality engineers and analysts to tackle more projects together.

 

Through another endeavor, Autism@Work, we’ve sought out untapped talent on the autism spectrum to take part in a 90-day apprenticeship and potential opportunity to work full-time at BNY Mellon. The eight apprentices and hiring managers in our inaugural program received a wealth of training, enjoyed a collaborative work environment and the support of a mentor from HEART, our Employee Resource Group for Diverse Abilities. From this group, we hired five individuals into full-time roles in our Global Operations and Technology group. Given the positive experience, we have rebranded the program Neurodiversity Inclusion @ BNY Mellon to engage beyond those with autism and include more qualified and capable neurodiverse individuals throughout other areas of our businesses.

 

These programs can help fuel our business success while creating more opportunities for a secure financial future for people with autism and other forms of neurodiversity. The opportunity and responsibility we have, as a large employer, is significant. For example, researchers in the United States estimate that between 700,000 and 1 million young people with autism will turn 18 over the next decade1, and others estimate that 70-90% of adults on the autism spectrum are underemployed2. Also, approximately 2.8% of the global working age population of 191 million people have ADHD and they are 11 times more likely to be unemployed and 61% more likely to lose a job. We’re putting our shared Future First by creating more paths to sustainable livelihoods for neurodiverse talent and including them in the workforce of the future.

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Sources:

1. Is Your Company Inclusive of Neurodivergent Employees?, Harvard Business Review, Feb. 16, 2022

2. Specialisterne, BNY Mellon’s Autism@Work partner


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