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American Business and Older Employees: a Focus on Midwest Employers

In light of the increasingly important role that older workers will play in the nation's economy over the next few decades, AARP conducted a telephone survey of HR managers and executives in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri in the spring of 2005 in order to assess employer perceptions of 50+ workers and identify what, if anything, employers in these states have started to do to attract and retain these workers.

The results of this Midwestern employer survey are largely consistent with findings from AARP's earlier nationwide employer surveys.  For example, Midwestern employers, like employers nationally, give older workers high marks in areas such as loyalty and dedication, commitment to doing quality work, dependability in a crisis, and ability to get along well with coworkers.  Similarly, both groups rate older workers somewhat lower on issues such as flexibility about doing different tasks and willingness to learn and use technology.

This study is the fifth in a series of AARP studies since 1985 on employer perceptions, policies, and practices that affect older workers.  Unlike the previous surveys, all national in scope, this most recent survey focused on Illinois and four surrounding states because Chicago will serve as the location of AARP's Business Solutions for an Aging Society conference in September 2005.

The phone interviews were conducted by International Communications Research from April 6, 2005 to May 23, 2005, and the report was prepared by S. Kathi Brown, AARP Knowledge Management, who may be contacted for more information at (202) 434-6296. (60 pages)