Supported Employment and Autism Ranking: Limited positive evidence

Supermarket employee Supported employment (also known as supported competitive employment or the supported work model of competitive employment) is a service provided to disadvantaged adults looking to find and retain a job.

It is based on the idea that, with appropriate help, disadvantaged adults can find and retain a job in the competitive marketplace rather than being unemployed or working in a sheltered workshop.

Supported employment programmes share common elements such as:

  • job development, including helping someone find appropriate jobs
  • job placement, including matching someone to an appropriate job
  • job-site training, which involves on-site skill training
  • assessment, which is an ongoing process to determine how the new worker is performing
  • job retention, which involves advocacy and procedures to ensure long-term job maintenance

Supported employment programmes are used to help a wide range of disadvantaged adults, including autistic people and people with other disabilities.

Our Opinion

There is a limited amount of low quality research evidence to suggest that supported employment programmes may increase employment rates among some autistic adults.

There is insufficient high quality research evidence to determine whether supported employment programmes may improve the overall quality of life among autistic adults.

There is a need for large scale, high quality research to determine if supported employment programmes can provide benefits of any kind to autistic adults.

There is a need for research to determine if any factors (such as age, gender, severity of autism symptoms, previous employment experience, and the level and quality of vocational preparation) influence the success of such schemes.

Any such research should involve autistic people to review the efficacy and ethical basis of the programmes.


Please read our Disclaimer on Autism Interventions

17 Jun 2022
Last Review
01 Aug 2017
Next Review
01 Oct 2023