2018 Occupational Wages in the Columbia Basin

by Dallas Fridley

September 5, 2018

Medical and health services managers working in the Columbia Basin earned on average $101,169 in 2018, just slightly below the statewide occupational average (-0.5%), according to the recently released publication, 2018 Oregon Wage Information, Columbia Basin.

The Oregon Employment Department’s annual Oregon Wage Information publication is a useful tool for a wide audience that includes job seekers, employees, employers, career counselors, and other professionals who deal with labor market information. Wages for the various occupations are calculated statewide and for each of Oregon’s workforce areas (and a few sub-areas), including the Columbia Basin.

Oregon’s 2018 wage data are published for nearly 700 occupations that vary from those paying minimum wage to occupations paying six-figure annual salaries. The number of occupations available varies by workforce area. A total of 208 occupations are included in the Columbia Basin report. More than 30 percent of the occupations listed in the Columbia Basin reported annual wages below $35,000. Around 29 percent of Columbia Basin occupations paid $60,000 or more, while middle wage occupations represented 40 percent.

Around one out of four of the Columbia Basin’s 208 occupations offered an annual wage that was higher than Oregon’s average. Sales managers earned the top spot in the Columbia Basin, earning $138,721 in 2018, or about 11 percent higher than Oregon’s $124,716 average.

Occupational wage rates are not limited to just the averages, rather hourly wages are also provided at the 10th, 25th, 50th or median, 75th, and 90th percentile – plus a mean or average hourly wage.

Not all occupations in the region have published wages. This may be the case for confidentiality reasons (only one or two firms employ an occupation), if only a few employees work in the occupation (too few in the sample), if the occupation is primarily self-employed (such as farmers), if the wage is more than $208,000 per year, or if the wages reported in the sample for the Columbia Basin are substantially different than those for other regions (an indication of poor data quality).

It may also be the case that wages for very specific occupations are not reported. For example, the wages for registered nurses are reported but the wage survey doesn’t distinguish between operating room nurses and cardiac care nurses.

Wages for Broad Occupational Groups

Reviewing occupational wages is a useful step in planning a career. The table below presents average wages for broad occupational groups instead of for specific occupations. Legal ($94,051), management ($87,335), health care practitioners/technical ($85,265), accounting/engineering ($65,050), and business/financial ($61,660) groups lead the list and had wages that were as much as twice the average for all occupations. Many of the specific occupations in these top groups require advanced education and training.
Lower-wage occupational groups, including food preparation and serving ($26,308), personal care ($28,486), farming, fishing and forestry ($29,191), and building and grounds cleaning and maintenance ($31,232) are filled with specific occupations that generally require less education. Some specific jobs in these lower-wage occupations, particularly supervisory, are above the all occupations average of $41,874.

Employer: If the job is an entry-level position, the employer may want to consider offering a wage in the 10th or 25th percentile range. If, on the other hand, an employer is looking to hire someone with many years of experience, the more appropriate wage may be near the 90th percentile.

Job Seeker: If you are new to the occupation and meet its minimal education and experience requirements, the wage that may be most appropriate for you is in the 10th to 25th percentile range. This generally is considered a level earned by those just starting in an occupation. If you have worked in an occupation for a while and feel you are very experienced in it, then you may consider the median, 75th or 90th percentile to be a level that would be appropriate for your experience and education.

More detailed information is available in the Oregon Wage Information publication that is updated each June at www.QualityInfo.org.


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