Assessment of Age-Friendly Workplaces in Duluth

New study by LSBE faculty and undergraduate research students focuses on aging employees. 

Are employers meeting the needs of their aging employees? What do older employees want from their employers?

The number of Minnesotans over the age of 55 is expected to grow from 1.6 million people in 2021 to 1.9 million by 2043. The Duluth, MN-WI metropolitan statistical area (MSA) will feel this demographic shift more acutely than the state of Minnesota will—currently 35% of the population is over the age 55 years in the MSA compared to 29% statewide.

Research has shown that organizational practices are closely related to older employees’ health, motivation, performance, and retirement preferences. And these practices are not just relevant to the older workforce but also to middle-aged workers, as they decide whether their current employer will fit their future needs.

In April, LSBE's Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER)—in partnership with LSBE faculty Drs. Lacey Loomer, Kim Dauner, and Lin Xiu—was awarded funding from a UMD grant aimed at fostering new, cross-disciplinary research collaborations. The research team, which also includes BBER undergraduate research assistants, Avery Wendinger and Mitchell Bakken, will survey businesses—both the management and the employees—in the Duluth-Superior MSA to understand whether local employers are meeting the workplace needs of this important demographic group.

Given the changing demographics of the MSA and the lack of information available to businesses on best practices for accommodating older workers, there is a critical need for local businesses to evaluate themselves on their ability to attract and retain an older workforce. Failure to meet the needs of an aging workforce will result in businesses losing workers at an increasing rate and being unable to fill open positions.

More about this study can be found on LSBE's BBER website


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