Employment in young adulthood

Conti-Ramsden, G., Durkin, K., Toseeb, U., Botting, N. & Pickles, A.R. (2017). Education and employment outcomes of young adults with a history of developmental language disorder. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders.


Aim of the paper:

While previous research shows that young adults with DLD often face difficulties in education and employment, more updated research is needed. This paper aims to understand the difference between young adults with and without DLD in terms of educational pathways, early jobs and income, and whether these outcomes are related to language ability.

What they found:


  • Overall, young adults with DLD achieved lower educational and vocational qualifications than their peers without DLD.


  • Higher educational/vocational qualifications were related to better language, better reading and higher non-verbal intelligence.


  • In general, young adults with DLD received more educational support and left education earlier than their peers without DLD.


  • There is no difference between the two groups in terms of percentage of young people currently employed at age 24.


  • Fewer young adults with DLD were in full-time employment than their peers without DLD. Also, young adults with DLD were less likely to be in professional occupations requiring higher level qualifications.


  • Income was not affected by DLD status: Young adults with and without DLD were payed equally for the same type of employment and level of qualification.

What does this mean?


The findings suggest that young adults with DLD are generally disadvantaged in education and employment. However, there is considerable variation, with some young adults with DLD showing good educational and employment outcomes, such as obtaining undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Also, when compared to earlier studies, the educational and employment outcomes of young adults with DLD have generally improved over the last decade.


In sum, there are positive aspects to the educational and employment outcomes of young adults with DLD, but they are at risk for less favourable outcomes overall. Therefore, continued support for individuals with DLD into young adulthood is recommended.

Where can I read this paper?


This paper is open access, which means everyone can read it.

Please click here to find the full paper.