Government Sector Offers Many Career Opportunities

Government Sector Offers Many Career Opportunities

by Ainoura Oussenbec

May 2, 2016

The Rogue Valley's labor market is currently experiencing a strong expansion with some of the lowest unemployment levels in history. The demand for labor in many industries is expected to remain very strong for the rest of the year as seasonal hiring is gearing up for another busy summer. While private industries go through business cycles with significant fluctuations in employment levels, the government sector, though not growing locally, is usually more stable over time.

In the past decade or so, government jobs remained at about the same level in Jackson County but decreased in Josephine County. However, there are still more than 15,000 government jobs in the Rogue Valley, almost 15 percent of total employment.

Local government, which includes city and county government entities, employs more than 60 percent of all government workers. State government agencies are responsible for about 24 percent of all jobs in the Rogue Valley, while the rest of the jobs are in federal government.

While it is unlikely that Rogue Valley government employment will increase its employment share any time soon, this sector offers viable career opportunities for job seekers. One major reason is the changing demographics.

Population and workforce in the Rogue Valley are older on average than in Oregon, particularly compared with the Portland area. In addition, the workers' average age in state and federal government is reported to be particularly high, in some agencies over 50. With many seasoned government employees getting ready to retire in the coming years, plenty of career opportunities should become available for job seekers of diverse backgrounds.

What skills would be appropriate for a career in government? OED's occupational data shows that in addition to teaching, social services and administrative fields, the jobs are just as diverse as in the private sector. There is always need for supervisory and leadership skills, and private sector leadership experience is valued in hiring for government jobs. Government also needs high-tech experts, engineers, as well as maintenance, landscape workers and bookkeepers, just to name a few.