Oregon Job Vacancies in 2017

by Anna Johnson

May 1, 2018

Every year the Oregon Employment Department surveys private employers with two or more employees to ask about the job vacancies they’re actively recruiting to fill. If the employer is indeed hiring, we ask about each vacancy’s job title, full- or part-time status, permanent or temporary status, starting salary or wage, and the educational and experience requirements. Oregon had roughly 60,700 job vacancies at any given time in 2017, the largest number reported since the job vacancy survey began in 2008. With record low unemployment and an expanding economy, employers throughout Oregon were hiring for a variety of different positions across all industries, with varying wages and education requirements. Before we dive into the details, here are some quick facts about Oregon’s job vacancies in 2017.

  • The average hourly wage for vacant jobs was $17.82;
  • 77 percent of job vacancies were full-time positions;
  • 88 percent of vacancies were permanent positions;
  • Only 29 percent of vacancies required education beyond a high school diploma;
  • More than half (57%) required previous experience;
  • 64 percent of the reported job vacancies were considered difficult to fill by the employers;
  • Businesses reported vacancies in 419 different occupations.
Health Care Industry Leads Oregon’s Job Vacancies

The health care and social assistance industry reported the most vacancies of any industry. They reported more than 10,900 job vacancies at any given time in 2017. The leisure and hospitality industry reported the second-highest number of job vacancies in 2017, with almost 7,500 vacancies. The health care industry reported significantly higher wages for the job vacancies, as compared with the leisure and hospitality industry. Vacancies in leisure and hospitality had an average hourly wage of $11.94, while the average hourly wage for the healthcare industry’s vacancies was $18.74.

Although the professional and technical services industry only reported about one-quarter (2,839) as many vacancies as health care, the job vacancies in that industry reported the highest average hourly wages of any industry ($26.53). The lowest average wages of any industry were found in leisure and hospitality.
Unsurprisingly, the occupations with the most vacancies in 2017 fell into the industries of health care, leisure and hospitality, and construction. Both health care and leisure and hospitality are among the largest industries in the state, and construction was the fastest-growing sector in Oregon in 2017.

Personal care aides were the occupation with the highest number of job vacancies, 2,327. About two-thirds (68%) of the reported job vacancies for personal care aides were full time positions and almost all (96%) were permanent positions. Registered nurses, another health care occupation, racked up 1,130 job vacancies at any given time in 2017. Of these, 81 percent were full-time positions and 99 percent were permanent positions. The majority of registered nurse vacancies (64%) were considered difficult to fill.

Retail salespersons was the occupation with the second most job vacancies (1,896) at any given time in 2017. Only a little over half (55%) of sales person positions were full-time positions, and 90 percent were permanent positions. Only 40 percent of these vacancies were considered difficult to fill.

Carpenters and construction laborers were also highly sought after by employers, with 1,540 and 1,406 job vacancies, respectively. Essentially all job vacancies for carpenters were full-time and permanent positions (100% and 97%, respectively). Additionally, 94 percent were considered difficult to fill. The construction laborer positions were also mostly full-time (85%) and permanent (87%). Three-fourths of the vacancies were considered hard to fill by employers.
Education Pays

One-third of all job vacancies in 2017 required a high school diploma. Another 17 percent required a postsecondary or other certification. Only 9 percent of vacancies required a bachelor’s or advanced degree. The remaining vacancies reported either no educational requirement (29%) or omitted an education level in the survey response (12%). The educational requirement of job vacancies differ from the educational requirements for jobs in Oregon’s overall economy, as many jobs with lower education requirements generally have greater turnover than those with higher education requirements.

Despite these varying education requirements, a clear trend emerged in the average wages offered by education requirement. As the education requirements increased, the average hourly wage offered also increased. Job vacancies with no education requirement or that required a high school diploma offered the lowest average hourly wages, at $13.98 and $14.78, respectively. Meanwhile, job vacancies requiring postsecondary training or other certification paid an average of $23.11. Job openings with bachelor’s or advanced degree requirements had average hourly wages of $33.05.
For more information about job vacancies in Oregon, please visit www.QualityInfo.org/pubs. Under the Job Vacancy Survey section, you will find quarterly updates on the survey, along with details about job vacancies in different regions across Oregon. Senior Economic Analyst Gail Krumenauer recently wrote an article about the difficulty filling job vacancies that require postsecondary certifications.

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