Fifty-Eight Percent of Northwest Oregon’s Jobs Were Difficult to Fill

by Shawna Sykes

June 6, 2019

According to 2018 Job Vacancy Survey results, nearly six out of ten job openings were considered difficult-to-fill by employers in the area. With an estimated 3,385 job vacancies at any given time in 2018 in the NW Oregon area (Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln, and Tillamook counties), employers reported filling 1,419 (42%) without difficulty, while 1,966 (58%) were difficult to fill.
Leisure, Health Care Have Most Hard-to-Fill Jobs

The leisure and hospitality industry had the largest share of positions that NW Oregon employers indicated were difficult-to-fill (22%) followed by health care and social assistance (19%), and administrative, management, and waste services (13%). Manufacturing jobs made up 12 percent of the area’s difficult-to-fill jobs, followed closely by construction (11%) and retail trade (10%).
Housekeepers, Production, Personal Care Aide Jobs Were Hardest to Fill

Of the top 20 most difficult-to-fill jobs in Northwest Oregon in 2018, maids and housekeeping cleaners had the largest number of difficult-to-fill vacancies with 214 in 2018. Production workers was the second highest (171) followed by personal care aides (147) and heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers (89).

Hard to Fill Jobs Pay More, Require More Experience

For those positions that were difficult to fill in NW Oregon, the average wage was $16.45 per hour, which is a bit higher than the average hourly wage for all job vacancies within the region ($16.00 per hour).

One-fourth of difficult-to-fill jobs require education beyond high school and over half (56%) require previous experience. This is slightly lower than the share of jobs requiring higher education across all job openings (28%), and higher than those requiring previous experience (40%).

Lack of Applicants Most Common Reason for Difficulty Filling Openings

When employers in NW Oregon were asked why they thought their openings were difficult to fill, they cited several potential reasons. In an area with near record low unemployment rates, the most common reason cited for having difficulty filling vacancies was a lack of applicants (39%). The second most common reason was unfavorable working conditions (23%), followed by lack of qualified candidates (7%), lack of soft skills (6%), and lack of work experience (5%).


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