Waiter delivering dishes to happy guests.

A leading New Zealand hospitality provider is actively looking to hire staff with autism at two of its Wellington hotels. The initiative is a joint effort with Altogether Autism, a national advisory service for the autism spectrum.

In partnership with Specialisterne Australia, Altogether Autism is running an Autistic Talent Search, aiming to find autistic individuals interested in starting a career in the hospitality industry. “We know from our research that many people on the autism spectrum find working in the hospitality industry suits their skills,” said Catherine Trezona, Altogether Autism national manager.

In particular, individuals seeking jobs such as room attendants, food and beverage attendants, receptionists, concierges and chefs are being sought out. “We’re particularly interested in individuals who live in Wellington or within a commutable distance to Wellington or who would be willing to relocate to the capital.”

Last year, a Specialisterne Australia survey of autistic people in the New Zealand workforce showed a waste of talent from highly motivated and educated autistic individuals. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed were unemployed, with 89 percent reporting challenges during their job search.

“Because of the challenges in communication and difficulty in reading social cues and body language, many people found getting through interviews as hard and challenging,” Trezona said.