Iowa Chamber Alliance talent poll: Talent attraction remains key issue

The Iowa Chamber Alliance (ICA) released its second annual Iowa Talent Poll Jan. 18, showing that slow population growth creates an acute problem for economic growth as labor shortage inhibits attraction and expansion opportunities.

This year’s poll analyzed a similar set of questions focused on talent attraction as last year’s poll, with a total of over 1,200 respondents.

Talent attraction moved to the top of ICA’s priority agenda in 2019, and ICA created the annual Talent Poll to better understand Iowa’s strengths and weaknesses for labor growth. Iowa needs to find new people willing to move to the state by first understanding what working age Iowans find attractive about living here, ICA officials say.

The question “Why Iowa?” has continued to show perceived areas of strength for the state in its cost of living, a small-town fee, and safety when compared against other states and that the sentiment of “Iowa nice” is real.

“This process has shown a strong base for Iowa to market especially for young families,” ICA board president Drew Kamp said, “and we hope policymakers continue to make investments in things like housing and childcare to further improve this base.”

In addition, the responses showed there are glaring opportunities that need attention from policymakers to improve Iowa’s marketability.

Entertainment opportunities continue to present a challenge, with 45% saying Iowa’s is inferior to other states and, while outdoor recreation continues to be a major selling point, respondents 18-29 were more likely to consider recreational opportunities to be inferior and also a major consideration for leaving Iowa.

The priorities of the Iowans who responded shifted significantly from 2021, with stopping inflation and rising cost of living taking the number one spot with 36% of respondents. This shift in priorities saw a corresponding response in optimism about standards of living dropping significantly.

“The last census showed us that Iowa continues to be a slow growth state falling below many of our neighboring states and the overall country,” said ICA executive director Dustin Miller. “We hope this poll provides state lawmakers data to make informed decisions about investments for areas of strength and weakness for Iowa,”

More information on the poll can be found at