Cognitive minorities could help solve skills mismatch in tomorrow's labour market

Back in January, the EESC's TEN section enjoyed a presentation on how to tap into the potential of "cognitive minorities" – people with high-functioning autism, hyperactivity, dyslexia and dyspraxia to meet the demand for technical skills which are in short supply, thereby also helping them integrate socially.

Hugo Horiot, author of the book Autisme, j'accuse! and himself autistic, pointed to the "many niche areas where certain highly technical skills are necessary but very hard to find, because the system rejects the cognitive group that provides those skills," stressing that "we need to encourage business and institutions to set other recruitment and evaluation methods than the standard models based on social skills."

According to a number of estimates, approximately 65% of today's school pupils will be called upon to perform jobs that do not currently exist and companies will find it increasingly difficult to find the skills they need. Tapping into the potential of cognitive minorities would not only provide a vital contribution to our society, but also offer an opportunity for social integration for people who have a different kind of intelligence. "A group in society that is deprived of any prospects would be offered the opportunity to contribute to our society in innovative ways," said Mr Horiot.

Recognising that all human beings are complementary and can contribute to society in multiple ways is fundamental. "We are all different from each other," said TEN section president Pierre Jean Coulon. "However, there are differences that are considered to be acceptable because they do not bother and affect anyone and, on the other hand, there are differences that we do not accept. Such is the case of neurodiversity," he concluded.(mp)