Embracing Neurodiversity

02 APR 2019

Dane Holmes, executive vice president and global head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs, announces the launch of the Goldman Sachs Neurodiversity Hiring Initiative, an eight-week paid internship program for people who identify as neurodiverse. 

By Dane Holmes  

Today is World Autism Day, a day to recognize and show support for a population that often does not get the understanding and opportunities they deserve.

Neurodiversity covers a wide variety of neurological differences, including autism, dyslexia, developmental disorders, mental health conditions, and ADHD.  People who identify as neurodiverse are often faced with stigmas surrounding their abilities. Although a growing population, with one in 59 children affected by autism alone, unemployment for those on the autism spectrum runs as high as 80%, a perplexing statistic considering research shows they often have higher IQs and levels of attention to detail and productivity compared to neurotypical individuals. This is a missed opportunity for employers and society, considering this highly intelligent and skilled talent pool embodies intense levels of concentration and dependability, and often higher retention rates than neurotypical people.

At Goldman Sachs, we believe who you are - including everything that makes you unique - contributes to how you add value to what you do. And so, we are committed to fostering a supportive environment that welcomes and celebrates all of our differences.

With this outlook serving as our north star for all of our diversity and inclusion endeavors, we’re proud to announce the launch of the Goldman Sachs Neurodiversity Hiring Initiative, an eight-week paid internship program for people who identify as neurodiverse. The program, which we’re developing in partnership with leading experts in neurodiversity, aims to empower and integrate neurodiverse people into the workforce and give individuals an opportunity to bring their unique strengths and skills to our workplace. Our goal is that through training, coaching and mentoring, participants will hone their skills and position themselves successfully for the long-term career path that they deserve.

Goldman Sachs has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, but our neurodiversity journey is just in the beginning stages.  We are fortunate to lean on the best practices that exist from companies that have established neurodiversity programs. When it comes to diversity and inclusion, it’s not about one company developing a singular best-in-class program, it’s about companies – from across industries –  unifying around an important cause, sharing knowledge and making a collective impact.

What has been especially encouraging to see is the incredible support for this initiative from colleagues across our firm.  People have come forward to share their personal stories on how neurodiversity touches them – on an individual level or through a child, sibling, friend or loved one. It’s inspiring to see passionate colleagues champion the cause and be open and visible about their experiences. Our goal is that this initiative encourages our people to share their stories and learn about how they can support neurodiverse individuals as managers, mentors and colleagues inside and outside the firm. As our CEO, David Solomon has emphasized, our goal is to be the employer of choice to all. It is important for our business, our clients, our people and to us. Fundamental change takes time, but the launch of the Neurodiversity Hiring Initiative is a meaningful step to further our commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable work environment for all

Read more articles by Dane Holmes on LinkedIn