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GMB Launches 'Thinking Differently At Work' Campaign

Friday, October 5, 2018


Seven out of ten workers with conditions such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia and dyspraxia report experiencing discrimination at work

GMB, the union for neurodivergent workers, has launched a new toolkit for workers and employers as figures show 70% of neurodivergent workers report experiencing discrimination at work. [1]

Neurodivergence is a term describing a number of conditions including dyspraxia, dyslexia, autism spectrum conditions, ADHD, dyscalculia and dysgraphia. [2]

GMB’s new Thinking Differently at Work campaign [3] will help employers create a positive working environment for neurodivergent workers.

The document is designed to help create more inclusive environments and tackle discrimination in the workplace.

·       Only 10% of employers explicitly address neurodiversity through their people management policies and practices [4]

·       The number of dyslexic workers receiving support through the Access to Work programme increased by 15% between 2015/16 and 2016/17 [5]

·       32% of autistic adults are in employment - and only 16% of autistic adults are in full time employment - despite the fact that 77% of unemployed autistic people want to work [6]

·       The unemployment rate is more than twice as high for disabled adults (at 8.8%) than it is for adults who are not disabled (at 3.4%) [7] 

Sherine Thompson, GMB rep, said:

“Since joining GMB I have my confidence and inner joy back - and now see my dyslexia as a gift that enables me to think out of the box and utilise my creative side. “

Nell Andrew, GMB Equalities Officer, said:

“Whilst we might be in the in the dark when it comes to knowing the true financial impact of discrimination against neurodivergent workers, we do know the massive detrimental impact on neurodivergent workers’ lives.

“Employers struggle to provide appropriate support and adjustments, with only 10% of workplaces having specific policies and practices on neurodiversity inclusion and support.

“We need better training, policies and support for managers to ensure their neurodivergent employees don’t lose out -  from loss of dignity and confidence, progression opportunities and for some neurodivergent people like me, even losing out on job opportunities

“Neurodivergent workers are not looking for not pity, ‘special treatment’ or a one size fits all approach to reasonable adjustments.

“We want the right to achieve our full potential, to develop careers and to access training, and have the opportunity to succeed and be valued at work.

“The GMB neurodiversity toolkit aims to start discussions that go beyond lazy stereotypes and lead the way on workplace policies that focus on support and strengths.

“We want employers to start thinking differently about having a neurodiverse workforce and recognise and help unlock the talents and experience of neurodivergent workers.”


Contact: GMB Press office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to Editors:

[1] Westminster Achievability Commission for Dyslexia and Neurodivergence, Neurodiverse voices: Opening Doors to Employment, January 2018, Section 10.3, page 49

[2] As opposed to neurodiversity, which is a term to describe variations in the way people think and process information as an entirely natural part of human diversity

[3] A copy of the toolkit can be found at:

[4] Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 1 in 10 HR professionals say their organisation is now focusing on neurodiversity at work, 15 February 2018,

[5] DWP response to GMB Freedom of Information Act request 04 October 2018.

[6] National Autistic Society, The autism employment gap: Too Much Information in the workplace, 2016

[7] House of Commons Library, briefing paper: People with disabilities in employment, 16 August 2018,

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