i autistic » Adult Life » How to get a pay raise

This article aims to examine why autistic people are earning much less than their peers for doing the same job and how we can rectify the situation.


If we change a light bulb for a fee of $50, and one person can do it alone, they can keep the full $50. If we need another person to help hold on to the ladder and pass the tools, then both will have to split the $50 to be fair.

Likewise, if a project pays $10,000 and one person handles it alone, they can keep the entire $10,000. If two people participate because one person supplies the people and executive skills while the other person supplies the technical skills, then on average, each person takes half the amount ($5,000).

Likewise, if a job pays $4,000, but the worker needs a job coach (or a supervisor who goes for extra training and spends extra effort) to manage them, they must share part of the $4,000 with their partner.

Hence, autistic people can improve their earning capacity by finding alternative ways of working or developing the necessary skills to handle work without extra assistance. It is up to each person to find out and do whatever it takes to achieve this if they are serious about improving their situation.


Another issue is that most people mention autistic people adding value but omit the politically incorrect subtracting value. Some examples include:

a) Requiring excessive micromanaging by the supervisor/manager

b) Getting into conflicts frequently that disrupt the team

c) Making frequent mistakes which require additional checking and correcting by another person

d) Having inflexible work styles that require the employer to revamp work processes

e) Frequently late for work and meetings

f) Low productivity due to being easily distracted at work

The actual value provided is calculated considering both the value added and subtracted. Cutting down on problematic behaviours is just as important as increasing value addition.


In addition, the agenda of non-profit initiatives for finding employment is usually not aligned with autistic job seekers. Their goal tends to be to place as many autistic people in as many jobs as possible without considering if these jobs have good pay, career advancement opportunities or if the job applicant likes the work.

At the end of the financial year, these numbers go into a report, which they can use to showcase their success and solicit more funds. The bigger the numbers, the better.

I knew someone who was offered a job as a waitress but turned it down. She eventually earned much more money doing IT work at a bank through her own effort.

If you want a well-paying job, obtain it competitively in the open market. However, if you can’t get or keep a competitive job, obtain it from the autism employment initiatives while keeping your expectations low. Remember that they are not out to get you your dream job, but just any job you can work in.


Finally, a well-known scholarly autistic advocate once told me that disabled people should be paid more because they need the money to pay for accommodations. This person also believes that society needs to change to fit autistic people, not the other way around. People with such beliefs wait passively for the world to fix their problems rather than take on the responsibility to better their lives.

Stay away from such beliefs and people who profess such beliefs. Take on beliefs that empower us to make our lives better. Associate with people who strive to improve their lives without relying on external support. You will soon find yourself living much more happily.