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The added value of autistic employees

German business software company SAP has announced a push to hire autistic people. SAP says it's hoping other companies follow its lead.

German business software company SAP has announced an effort to actively recruit and hire people with autism. The move comes after a successful pilot project in India in which SAP hired computer programmers who have autism, a developmental disorder that, among other things, can impair a person's ability to interact with others.

SAP, which says it wants autistic employees to make up 1 percent of its global workforce by 2020, is hoping other companies follow its lead.

"Employee engagement has gone up, the turnover rate has gone down, and the productivity from the entire team has gone up," says Anka Wittenberg, SAP's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in Frankfurt, Germany. Wittenberg adds that people with autism are extremely good at repetitive tasks and maintaining a high level of concentration. 

To hear more about how SAP plans to recruit autistic talent, click on the audio player above.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio

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