Press Release

Willis Towers Watson extends employment programme for adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorders

September 27, 2016

LONDON, 27 September 2016 — On day one of the Inclusion@Lloyd's Dive In 2016 festival, Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), the leading global advisory, broking and solutions company, has announced plans to extend to the UK a programme to hire people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Autistic spectrum disorders are estimated to affect 1% of the population worldwide and it’s also estimated that more than 80% of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed. Willis Towers Watson is committed to providing meaningful employment for individuals with autism in roles where their specialist skills can be applied.

The programme was first piloted in Willis Towers Watson’s Connecticut, New Jersey and Philadelphia offices in North America with great success, leading to five permanent employment contracts for adults with ASD.

Commenting on the new UK pilot, Nicolas Aubert, Head of Willis Towers Watson in GB, said: “We have made significant progress on our journey toward employing people with ASD and are looking to create appropriate roles, initially within specialist data teams in our Human Capital and Benefits segment. We recognise that the data analytics work that we do for our clients is sympathetic to the skills and characteristics of those experiencing ASD. We wanted to access this largely untapped talent pool of individuals with unique strengths and capabilities and find opportunities to leverage these capabilities to our mutual advantage.”

Aubert continued: “Diversity is strength and bringing varied abilities from people who experience autism is integral to our commitment to our firm’s diversity. This programme delivers many benefits. It allows us to hire talented individuals with unique strengths and capabilities. It proves that autistic individuals can thrive in data analytics. But what our experience has also shown us is that the programme actually increases morale across the business, because colleagues who work with the specialists feel like they are contributing to their success. Our employees are really embracing this effort, because it makes them feel good about what they are doing and where they work.”

As well as providing meaningful employment opportunities for the specialists with ASD, the programme is also intended to provide Willis Towers Watson colleagues and managers with a greater understanding of how to promote an inclusive and diverse working environment. Education and training is being provided to promote sensitivity and help existing employees understand more about autism as well as challenging the unconscious biases that can limit access to opportunities for people who experience the condition.

John Haley, CEO of Willis Towers Watson, spoke at the UN World Autism Awareness Day in April last year on the theme of “Employment: The Autism Advantage”. A video of his speech is available here.

Following the success of the first Dive In festival in London in 2015, Dive In 2016 is bigger and better with an international programme of events. Between the 27th and 29th of September 2016, more than 50 events will take place over three days in 16 cities across four continents in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, France, Ireland, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and the USA. Willis Towers Watson is one of the founding sponsors of Dive In.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW ) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 39,000 employees in more than 120 territories. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential.