Iowa Chamber Alliance Releases Third Annual Talent Poll

January 29, 2024

DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Chamber Alliance (ICA) released its third annual Iowa Talent Poll on January 17, 2024. This year’s poll is the third iteration focused on talent attraction with a total of over 1,200 Iowa residents conducted by Cygnal. Slow population growth creates an acute problem for economic growth as labor shortage inhibits attraction and expansion opportunities.

ICA created the annual Talent Poll to better understand Iowa’s strengths and weaknesses for labor growth. Iowa needs to retain current Iowans and find new people willing to move to the state by first understanding what working age Iowans find attractive about living here. The poll results show continued value of chambers of commerce with poll respondents overwhelmingly seeing small businesses and businesses in their communities as their most trusted institutions.

The Iowa Talent Poll is specifically designed to be iterative in order to understand potential trends to assist policy makers and community stakeholders in making decisions. Every year of the poll has shown the top appealing aspects being small-town feel, cost of living and this year even 64% of respondents feeling that Iowans are friendlier than other places.

Millennials became the largest generation in the labor force in 2016 so successful labor force growth should look towards retention and attraction of this important demographic. According to an annual national survey by Deloitte, the top concern for both millennials and generation Z is cost of living. Iowa Talent Poll results show that Iowa has a competitive advantage in this top concern with 61% of respondents believing Iowa has a lower cost of living and there being a 10% drop in three years for belief that taxes are too high. This is following significant income tax reforms adopted by the state supported by ICA.

Iowans believe that Iowa is superior to other states for other priorities for post-millennials like safety where 67% of respondents feeling Iowa is safer than other places and the overwhelming majority utilizing public outdoor recreation with a third believing those outdoor recreation opportunities being superior to other states.

ICA’s board president Dan Culhane stated “the third year of the Iowa Talent Poll continues to show a strong base for Iowa to market to working adults especially for young families and we hope policymakers continue to make investments to further grow the state.”

More information on the poll can be found at