Rogue Valley Job Vacancies

by Guy Tauer

March 8, 2018

According to the Oregon Employment Department’s 2017 Job Vacancy Survey, there were 5,718 vacancies in the Rogue Valley at any given time last year. A perennial leader again in 2017 was heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers, with 339 vacancies. Forest and conservation workers also had many vacancies last year, over 240 according to our survey. Some of this demand may have been from the many wildfires that plagued the region last summer.
Occupations found in the leisure and hospitality industry had many vacancies including chefs and cooks, food servers, dishwashers, hosts and hostesses, and bartenders. This group of occupations doesn’t show very many openings in another source of labor demand, the Help Wanted OnLine (HWOL) data that we publish. But many of these service-sector occupations are under-represented in online job postings. Data from our job vacancy survey captures information directly from employers, including for vacancies that aren’t advertised online.

Health care-related occupations account for many of the jobs with the most vacancies. Registered nurses, nursing assistants or “CNA 1-CNA 2”, mental health counselors, licensed practical and vocational nurses, physical therapists, and mental health and substance abuse social workers were on the list of the top occupations with the most vacancies.

Job vacancies by industry shows those same trends, with the leisure and hospitality industry tops for the most vacancies, accounting for about one out of four Rogue Valley vacancies in 2017. Health care and social assistance had about one out of six vacancies last year. Retail trade had about 10 percent of total vacancies.

As you might surmise, job vacancies with greater required education level also had higher average hourly wages. Vacancies requiring a high school diploma or with no education requirement had the lowest wages, $13.87 and $14.16, respectively. Occupations requiring postsecondary education or other certifications had average wage of $22.41 while those requiring a bachelor’s or other advanced degree averaged $24.15 per hour. Full-time positions were also more common for vacancies requiring more education. Previous experience requirements were also associated with greater educational requirements. Only about one-half of jobs that had no education requirement required prior job experience. On the other hand about 84 percent of vacancies that required postsecondary or other certifications, or a bachelor’s degree or more, also required previous experience.
About two-thirds of all Rogue Valley vacancies were deemed difficult to fill by the survey respondents. Vacancies with greater educational requirements were also more difficult to fill. Vacancies with postsecondary or other certification education requirements were difficult to fill about three-fourths of the time, while 94 percent of vacancies requiring a bachelor’s degree or other advanced degree were difficult to fill.

Just over one-third of Rogue Valley vacancies didn’t require any prior experience. For the remainder, between one and five years was the most common level of experience required in 2017.

Just less than 30 percent of vacancies would be considered current vacancies, meaning the job has been open for less than 30 days. On the other extreme, about one-quarter of total vacancies are “always open” according to survey respondents. Does that mean that they just can’t ever find anyone to fill the openings, or turnover is so high that they continue to always recruit applicants for those openings, or do they just keep the position open to fill their stack of resumes of potential job seekers? That would be an interesting topic for more research.
The well-worn mantra “Education Pays” continues to hold true in our recent vacancy survey data. The more sobering takeaway from this job vacancy survey is what a low percent of total Rogue Valley job vacancies requiring those higher levels of education that are associated with high average pay. Nearly 40 percent of total vacancies had no educational requirement and another 26 percent required only a high school diploma. Just one-quarter of Rogue Valley job vacancies required education beyond high school in 2017. Postsecondary or other certification was a requirement for 957 vacancies, or 16.7 percent. A bachelor’s degree or advanced degree was required for less than 500 vacancies in 2017, or about 8.5 percent of total vacancies last year. For Oregon overall, only about 25 percent of all vacancies required education beyond high school in 2017 as well.
For more information and graphs, see



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