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Oregon's Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Investments Industry
by Pat O'Connor
Published Jun-20-2014

 
After several years of job loss during the Great Recession, Oregon's securities, commodity contracts, and investment industry added jobs in 2011, 2012, and 2013. In 2013, the industry employed more than 5,000 people for the first time in Oregon.

Despite the recent growth, Oregon has a fairly low concentration of employment in the securities industry, roughly half the national average. In stark contrast, New York County, New York, home of the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, has a concentration of employment in the securities industry more than 11 times the national average.

Within the broad securities industry, securities brokerages comprise more than two out of five jobs (43%) compared with 34 percent nationally (Table 1). Securities brokerages include businesses acting as agents or brokers between buyers and sellers of securities. Examples are mutual fund agencies, securities brokerages, and stock brokerages.

Oregon's portfolio management industry employed more than 1,000 people in 2013, comprising 19 percent of Oregon's employment within the broad securities industry. Oregon was similar to the nation where portfolio management made up 17 percent of the broader industry. Firms in the portfolio management industry work with managing trusts, mutual funds, pension funds, and portfolio funds.

Firms primarily engaged in investment advice employed 853 people in Oregon during 2013. These firms comprised 17 percent of the employment in Oregon's securities industry. This is similar to the nation where investment advice employment made up 18 percent of the industry's employment.

Investment banking and securities dealing is the only other component of Oregon's broad securities industry employing more than 500. In 2013, investment banking and securities dealing comprised 10 percent of the industry's total employment. Nationally, it made up 18 percent of the industry's total employment.

With an average annual wage of $189,477 in 2013, investment banking and securities dealing has the second-highest average wage within Oregon's securities industry, topped only by commodity contracts dealing, a small group with employment of less than 50 in the state. Oregon's investment banking and securities industry has a high average wage by Oregon standards, but is significantly lower than the average wage in the nation's financial capital. In 2012, the annual average wage for investment banking and securities dealing in New York County, New York was $386,082 - more than twice the average wage earned in Oregon's investment banking and securities dealing industry.

Table 1
A Detailed Look at Oregon's Securities, Commodity Contracts,
and Investments Industry
Industry 2013
Annual Average Employment
 2013 Average Annual Wage
Securities, commodity contracts, investments 5,158 $118,460
   Securities brokerage 2,195 $121,243
   Portfolio management 1,005 $127,876
   Investment advice 853 $90,065
   Investment banking and securities dealing 516 $189,477
   All other financial investment activities 278 $52,364
   Miscellaneous intermediation 244 $71,350
   Commodity contracts dealing 34 $194,561
   Commodity contracts brokerage 19 $61,310
   Securities and commodity exchanges 14 $145,006
An Older Workforce
 
In 2012, nearly 42 percent of Oregon's private-sector workforce was age 45 or older (Graph 1). Oregon's securities workforce is significantly older; 51 percent of its workforce was age 45 or older. The industry also has a larger share of workers ages 35 to 44 (26%) than Oregon's total private sector (21%).

With older workers comprising such a large share, younger workers are underrepresented in the industry. Workers ages 14 to 24 comprise 14 percent of Oregon's private-sector workforce, but only 4 percent of workers in the securities industry are in that age group. Compared with Oregon's total private sector, workers ages 25 to 34 are underrepresented in the securities industry as well.

Graph 1
Employment by age 2012 annual average
Significant Differences in Wages by Gender
 
Oregon's securities, commodity contracts, and investments workforce is 48 percent female and 52 percent male; similar to Oregon across all industries which is 49 percent female and 51 percent male.

In the April 2014 edition of Oregon Labor Trends an article from Nick Beleiciks titled, "Where Women Work and How Much They Earn" looks at female earnings as a percent of male earnings by industry. The article shows that across all industries in Oregon females earned 67 percent of what males earned in 2012. In Oregon's finance and insurance sector, of which securities, commodity contracts, and investments is a part, females earned 54 percent of what males earned. The only broad industry in Oregon with a larger discrepancy in earnings by gender was arts, entertainment, and recreation at 51 percent - an industry that includes Oregon's professional sports franchises.

In 2012, females in Oregon's securities, commodity contracts, and investments industry had monthly average earnings of $4,956; 35 percent of the $14,007 average monthly earnings that males earned in the industry.

However, both genders within the securities industry earned more than the average across all industries in 2012. Females in securities earned 66 percent more than the average earnings for females across all industries, while males earned more than three times the average earnings for males across all industries.

The securities sector has a large share of high-wage workers, and a smaller share of lower wage workers (Table 2). Nearly one-quarter (24%) of workers in the securities industry earn an hourly wage of $60 or more, whereas only 6 percent of workers across all industries in Oregon earn $60 an hour or more.

Nearly six out of 10 jobs in Oregon (59%) have an hourly wage of less than $20. In Oregon's securities industry, only three out of 10 (31%) jobs had an hourly wage of less than $20.

Table 2
Oregon's Securities Industry - Number of Jobs by Hourly Wage Level - Third Quarter 2013
  Hourly Wage    
  Under $20.00 $20.00 - $39.99 $40.00 - $59.99 $60.00 or More Total   Median Wage
Total - All Industries   1,135,735   514,891   163,856   113,008   1,927,490   $16.89
Percent All Industries 59% 27% 9% 6% 100%    
Securities Industry           1,638        1,711           673        1,284           5,306   $29.45
Percent Securities Industry 31% 32% 13% 24% 100%    
Source: Unemployment Insurance Wage Records
Occupations in Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Investments
 
Certainly one of the reasons that the securities, commodity contracts, and investments industry has an older than average workforce is that it has many well-paying jobs. The average annual wage for all jobs in Oregon was $45,010 in 2013. The average wage in the securities industry in 2013 was $118,460 - more than twice Oregon's average wage.

The only occupation comprising more than 10 percent of the industry's total employment is securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents, which make up 21 percent of the industry's jobs (Table 3). The 10 largest occupations within the industry comprise two-thirds (65%) of its total employment. The remaining one-third of jobs in the securities industry are spread out among a large number of smaller occupations; there are more than 100 different occupations within the industry.

Table 3
10 Largest Occupations in Oregon's Securities, Commodity Contracts,
and Investments Industry
Occupational Title 2012 Employment Percent of Industry Employment 2013 Median Hourly Wage (Across All Industries)
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents            1,039 21% $25.38
Financial Analysts               404 8% $42.40
Office Clerks, General               322 6% $14.95
Brokerage Clerks               318 6% $19.44
Personal Financial Advisors               305 6% $21.85
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive               220 4% $16.32
Personal Financial Advisors               216 4% $21.85
Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agents               166 3% $25.38
Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants               136 3% $22.82
Brokerage Clerks               130 3% $19.44
Outlook
 
Oregon does not publish employment projections specifically for the securities, commodity contracts, and investments industry. The industry is included as part of the larger finance and insurance industry, whose employment is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022. That rate is slower than the economy as a whole, which is projected to grow 15 percent from 2012 to 2022.