Here's why we need to talk about dyslexia in the workplace

Despite having more open discussions about neurodiversity, UK businesses are still failing to recognise the strengths of their dyslexic employees

On the face of things, one might imagine that companies are moving in the right direction when it comes to accommodating neurodiversity in the workplace.

Leaders are not only talking more openly about the need to be more appreciative of neurodiverse talent, but are also recognising the numerous benefits that approaching tasks from a different perspective can bring to their organisations.

Despite this, it appears there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to the way many firms are treating their dyslexic employees. 

New research commissioned by LinkedIn and the global charity Made By Dyslexia has revealed less than one in five (18%) people with dyslexia in the UK feel their workplace knows their strengths – indicating that thousands of talented individuals aren’t being understood by fellow professionals and management figures. 

What’s more, according to data from LinkedIn, many of the most in-demand skills – such as communication, leadership and research – are those dyslexics excel at. 

Last year, the professional network added ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ as a skill that users can add to their profiles as part of a change-making campaign alongside Virgin Group and Made By Dyslexia. Already, it has been selected by more than 22,000 members.

“When it comes to dyslexic thinking in the workplace, companies could be inadvertently missing out on a goldmine of untapped potential and talent due to inflexible hiring processes,” says Luke Mckend, Senior Director at LinkedIn Talent Solutions UK.

“By removing the barriers dyslexic professionals face in the workplace, and reevaluating the way they hire, companies can create a working environment in which dyslexic thinking is celebrated and valued. 

“Not only will this build a more inclusive company culture, but it will help businesses tap into a talent pool brimming with some of the most in-demand skills – including leadership and communication.”

Time for businesses to ignite the dyslexia conversation

As part of their research, which was carried out by Censuswide, LinkedIn and Made by Dyslexia gathered the thoughts of 2,052 non-dyslexic workers and 309 dyslexic workers aged 18 and above in the UK.

Companies have work to do when it comes to understanding dyslexia in the workplace

Interestingly, a lack of active discussion around dyslexia in the workplace seems to be a key contributing factor to issues faced by those diagnosed with the language-based learning disability.

Less than a third (28%) of professionals have asked a dyslexic colleague about how their dyslexia impacts them at work, while a lack of understanding about dyslexia (46%) is the main reason people have felt hesitant to share details of their dyslexia in the workplace.  

And, although the vast majority of dyslexics view dyslexic thinking as an advantage in the workplace, less than half of non-dyslexic professionals recognise this advantage. 

AI boosting career progression

One positive is that the rise of AI appears to be supercharging the career progression of dyslexic professionals. Almost two-thirds (63%) say using AI tools at work helps them to focus on their dyslexic thinking strengths, while 66% agree AI can further their career.

With the latest data from LinkedIn’s Future of Work: AI at Work Report showing there has been a huge increase in the share of English-language job postings mentioning GPT or ChatGPT since November 2022, feeling comfortable with AI could be an important step for those looking to develop professionally.

Kate Griggs, founder and CEO of Made By Dyslexia

“Research has been telling us that workplaces will depend on dyslexic thinking skills,” adds Kate Griggs, founder and CEO of Made By Dyslexia.

“As our DyslexAI campaign with Richard Branson and Virgin showed, dyslexic thinking is a perfect co-pilot with AI because it is being adopted across industries. AI can’t replace the soft skills or power skills that every organisation needs, like innovation, lateral thinking, complex problem solving and interpersonal skills – and these are dyslexic thinking skills.”

Made By Dyslexia’s new online course, ‘Empowering Dyslexic Thinking in the Workplace’, will be available via LinkedIn Learning from October. 


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