3 minute read 14 Oct 2019
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How dyslexic capabilities can help organisations of the future

In a world of technologically-enabled change, how we work is fundamentally shifting.

Workforce augmentation, where parts of jobs are automated to complement and enhance the workforce, will create significant shifts in the types of jobs and competencies organisations need. Organisations are looking to bridge this skills gap; this shift requires different minds to fulfil differentiated tasks.

The value of dyslexia

The Value of Dyslexia: Dyslexic strengths and the changing world of work report sets out how dyslexic individuals could support this technological revolution.

What is dyslexia? Dyslexia influences at least 1 in 10 people1 and is a genetic difference2 in an individual’s ability to learn and process information. As a result, dyslexic individuals have differing abilities, with strengths in creative, problem-solving and communication skills and challenges with spelling, reading and memorising facts. Generally, a dyslexic cognitive profile will be uneven when compared to a neurotypical cognitive profile – which means dyslexic individuals really do think differently.

The Value of Dyslexia: Dyslexic capability and organisations of the future provides an updated view, using the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report3 to:

  • Highlight the changing demand for competencies expected to emerge by 2022
  • Show how a typical dyslexic capability could help drive the required shift

Dyslexia: an opportunity

Overall, the analysis shows that the workplace competencies that dyslexic individuals may typically find challenging will largely be impacted by forms of automation. In their place, enhanced tasks and new jobs will be created that closely match the strengths of dyslexic thinking; dyslexia could provide an opportunity for organisations to bridge the skills gap of the future.

Top dyslexic strengths, trending competencies, all industries, 2022

Exceptional

Very strong Strong
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Creativity, originality and initiative
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Technology design and programming
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Emotional intelligence

Organisational approaches to dyslexia

However, the traditional approach to dyslexia in the workplace is directed at the remediation of dyslexic challenges. This is well intended, but may not direct the right effort towards the whole dyslexic profile or leverage the strong competencies that are increasingly trending. This could impact organisations’ ability to capture the value of dyslexic strengths, and therefore assist with bridging the skills gap.

An alternative approach based on skills could allow organisations to focus on both the remediation of challenges and the harnessing of strengths; aligning a deeper understanding of dyslexic skills with that of organisational value.

Dyslexia could provide an opportunity for organisations to bridge the skills gap of the future

Leading the way

CEOs and business leaders should focus on three areas:

Firstly, share best practice and insight specifically for dyslexia, asking:

  • How does our existing approach to dyslexia need to change against this backdrop of rapid transformation?

Secondly, invest in a clear automation strategy targeted at organisational goals, and a people strategy that considers the cultural and skills needs of the organisation4; give clear line-of-sight to the technological potential available and the relative impact on jobs, tasks and skills, asking:

  • Are we investing in the right places from an automation and skills perspective, and providing a psychologically safe environment to ensure time, effort and resources are focused on value?

Finally, from a skills basis, seek to develop a neurodiverse capability that understands varying cognitive profiles; the alignment of automation, culture and neurodiversity could be the key to unlocking the value of dyslexia and the future organisation, asking:

  • How great are the gains to be had from harnessing neurodiverse teams which could unlock talent to ensure we have a diverse workforce that's fit for the future?
In association with Made by Dyslexia
  • Show references

    1 Better Training, Better Teaching, Dyslexia International 2014 p.2

    Connecting the Dots, Made By Dyslexia 2017 p.7

    The Future of Jobs Report, The World Economic Forum, 2018

    The Future Workplace: How to Automate Intelligently, EY, 2018

Summary

Our analysis shows that the workplace competencies that dyslexic individuals may typically find challenging will largely be impacted by forms of automation. In their place, enhanced tasks and new jobs will be created that closely match the strengths of dyslexic thinking – so dyslexia could provide an opportunity for organisations to bridge the skills gap of the future.

About this article

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EY UK

Multidisciplinary professional services organisation