Rogue Valley Job Vacancies in 2018

by Guy Tauer

March 20, 2019

According to the Oregon Employment Department’s 2018 Job Vacancy Survey, there were 4,966 vacancies in the Rogue Valley at any given time last year, down from 5,718 estimated vacancies in 2017. We sent out 1,426 survey forms to Rogue Valley businesses with two or more employees. We received 529 surveys back for a 38 percent response rate.

Personal care aides was the leader for the most vacancies by occupation in 2018, with 398 vacancies. Other health care-related occupations among the jobs with the most vacancies included physical therapists, registered nurses, nursing assistants, and medical assistants. Forest and conservation workers also had many vacancies last year, more than 300 according to our survey. Some of this demand may have stemmed from the many wildfires that plagued the region again last summer. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers fell from the number one spot in 2017 to the occupation with the third highest number of vacancies in 2018, with 217.

Occupations in the leisure and hospitality industry that had many vacancies included restaurant cooks 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.

Large occupations with many jobs in the Rogue Valley also had a large number of vacancies in 2018, according to our survey, including retail salespersons, cashiers, and customer service representatives.
Job vacancies by industry show the administrative, management, and waste services industry accounting for about one-fifth of total vacancies (973) in 2018. Health care and social assistance came in a close second with more than 900 vacancies in the Rogue Valley. Retail trade, and leisure and hospitality industries accounted for about one out of 10 Rogue Valley vacancies in 2018.

As you might surmise, job vacancies with greater education requirements also had higher average hourly wages. Vacancies requiring a high school diploma or with no education requirement had the lowest wages, $14.09 and $14.99, respectively. Occupations requiring postsecondary education or other certifications paid an average wage of $21.59 while those requiring a bachelor’s or other advanced degree averaged $24.52 per hour. Full-time positions were slightly more common for vacancies requiring more education. Previous experience requirements were also associated with greater educational requirements. Only about two-thirds of jobs that had no education requirement required prior job experience. On the other hand, about 86 percent of vacancies that required postsecondary or other certifications, and 100 percent of vacancies a requiring a bachelor’s degree or more, also required previous experience.
Just more than one-half of all Rogue Valley vacancies were deemed difficult to fill by the survey respondents in 2018, down from about two-thirds in 2017. One-fourth 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 2018, with about one-third of all vacancies requiring that level of prior job experience.  
About 27 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-fifth 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 the small share of Rogue Valley job vacancies that require higher levels of education. Twenty-seven percent of total vacancies had no educational requirement and another 29 percent required only a high school diploma. Just more than one-quarter of Rogue Valley job vacancies required education beyond high school in 2018. Postsecondary or other certification was a requirement for 1,147 vacancies, or 23 percent. A bachelor’s degree or advanced degree was required for 213 vacancies in 2018, or about 4 percent of total vacancies last year. For Oregon overall, only about 27 percent of all vacancies required education beyond high school in 2018.

For more information and graphs, see:

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