LinkedIn adds ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ to skills list in effort to destigmatize
In addition to its many other listed skills, LinkedIn now cites ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ among the talents its users can claim. The new label, which is live from today (March 31), seeks to destigmatize dyslexia among employers and the wider public as part of a campaign by charity group Made by Dyslexia. To support the effort, Dictionary.com has also redefined the term as ‘strengths in creative, problem-solving and communication skills’.
The campaign features Sir Richard Branson, Keira Knightley and others discussing their own ‘dyslexic thinking’
The campaign seeks to overturn ‘outdated thinking’ about dyslexia as an impediment to employment. To do so, it has drafted in celebrities including Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Soho House founder Nick Jones to discuss how dyslexic thinking has aided their careers.
Made by Dyslexia has also enlisted Sir Richard Branson as its patron as part of the initiaitve.
“I’m thrilled LinkedIn has added ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ to its recognized skills list,” said Branson. “It’s significant because it recognizes this unique way of thinking as a positive trait. Dyslexic thinking is a skill that can give you the edge at work: you’re likely to have strong problem-solving skills, a great imagination and creative, big-picture thinking. I’m proud to be a dyslexic thinker and redefining dyslexia as a skill gave me the freedom to pursue my dreams without barriers.”
In the UK alone, reportedly 6.3 million people have dyslexia. While that has traditionally been seen as a roadblock to education and professional development, and as a problem to be solved, the ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ campaign seeks to highlight how dyslexia closely aligns with other necessary skills. A report that accompanies the launch notes that, as automation comes to the fore, the problem-solving skills associated with dyslexia are a benefit, not a hindrance.
The founder of Made By Dyslexia, Kate Griggs, said: “Our research has demonstrated that dyslexic thinking skills, such as creativity, problem-solving and leadership, are vital to the 21st century workplace. When we reach a 50/50 work split between machines and humans, as predicted for 2025, the skills humans will need are dyslexic thinking skills. The world’s largest professional careers platform, LinkedIn, has recognized this. That’s why it has offered its 810 million+ members the chance to add ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ to their profiles. This is a monumental milestone for dyslexics everywhere.
“LinkedIn and Dictionary.com’s recognition of dyslexic thinking will have a huge impact on the way in which dyslexic individuals view their own unique way of thinking and the value this brings to the world of work.”
LinkedIn has previously been accused of allowing implicit bias to influence how potential employers weed out job candidates. Despite this, it also has stated codes of conduct and information packages designed to prevent discrimination in the workplace, suggesting that any issues are endemic to hiring practices more widely. It speaks to a need to cater to a greater range of individuals when it comes to hiring and the ‘Dyslexic Thinking’ campaign seeks to change people’s minds around one potential source of discrimination.
Nicole Leverich, vice-president of communications at LinkedIn, said:
"We can help improve understanding of how differences can be real professional advantages by supporting campaigns like Made by Dyslexia. When someone turns to their LinkedIn community, I hope they’ll be proud to add “Dyslexic Thinking” as a skill and get real support and encouragement from their professional community. As someone who has spent a lot of my professional life trying to hide my dyslexia, this is a campaign close to my heart, and I am so proud we are part of it."
The campaign is being supported by creative from Virgin that highlights the celebrities and entrepreneurs lending their support. In addition to the hero images and change to LinkedIn and Dictionary.com’s tools, the launch is accompanied by a video featuring testimonials and explainers about dyslexia from Richard Branson among others.