US energy contractor Baker Hughes has highlighted a broad industry trend whereby employers are expanding their talent pools and employment conditions to absorb neuro-diverse individuals.

Chief human resources officer Deanna Jones said during an online media briefing this week: “We have launched a global programme to engage and develop neuro-diverse talent — which tend to be systems thinkers — and, we believe, are naturally advantaged to see these challenges and opportunities from a comprehensive 360-degree viewpoint.”

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She said Baker Hughes’ programme “has identified individuals that are on the spectrum who are uniquely positioned to work in our digital technology teams — it’s just the way they think about complex problems, the way they think about a systems approach for the work we’re doing.”

Speaking during the company’s annual meeting jamboree — traditionally held in Florence, Italy, but held online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic — Jones said the contractor is focused on “bringing different voices and different perspectives to the table,” while adapting working practices and environments to make the most of the individuals’ talents.

Allyson Book, who heads up Baker Hughes' energy transition business, said she is “really excited” about the company’s neuro-diversity programme.

“My team is going to try to build an internship programme for non-traditional jobs where we may not have placed neuro-divergent people before. We’ll have people coming in to look at deep policy analysis and the emissions quantification space.”

Book believes that neuro-diverse talent will provide “a really cool, competitive advantage if you can embrace it.”

She also highlighted that about one-fifth of the world’s population is defined as neuro-diverse, so the available talent pool is significant.