Southwestern Oregon Job Vacancies in 2019

by Kelvin Valdovinos

March 3, 2020

On average in 2019, there were 1,745 job vacancies among businesses in Southwestern Oregon, according to the newly released job vacancy survey conducted by the Oregon Employment Department. That is up 463 vacancies from 2018. The survey results are estimated from 492 local private-sector employers who responded to our survey, and included information such as: job title, full- or part-time status, permanent or temporary status, starting wage or salary, and educational and experience requirements.
Statewide, the Portland Metro area accounted for 21,218 or about 37 percent of total job vacancies. Southwestern Oregon, which accounted for the lowest job vacancies for any of the state’s nine workforce areas totaled 3 percent of Oregon’s vacancies. As most people have heard, there is a direct correlation between educational attainment and wage. SW Oregon ranks as the lowest average wage hovering at $16.41, and tied with Clackamas and Northwest Oregon for the lowest percentage of job vacancies requiring education beyond high school (30 percent). Eastern Oregon, another less densely populated region of Oregon, accounts for a little under 4 percent of statewide job vacancies, and has the third highest average hourly wage at $18.83. While similar to SW Oregon in all other categories, Eastern Oregon accounts for the highest percentage of job vacancies requiring education beyond high school (43%).
In Southwestern Oregon, 92 percent of all job vacancies require the job applicant to have some postsecondary education or less. Occupations with no education requirement and those requiring a high school diploma each accounted for about one-third of 2019 vacancies. One-quarter required postsecondary training or other certification. Postsecondary education includes individuals with education beyond high school, such as some college/university coursework, but also includes non-degree certificate programs, and associate degrees. As mentioned previously, the average hourly wage for all job vacancies hovers around $16.41. There is a significant difference in wage when separating educational requirements.
Vacancies without an educational requirement and those requiring a high school diploma have average hourly wages at $13.91 and $13.43, respectively. When analyzing hourly wages for postsecondary training and bachelor’s or advanced degrees wages jump to $21.45 and $31.67 an hour.

Jobs requiring postsecondary training have the highest percentage of difficult-to-fill vacancies at 91 percent. Vacancies without educational requirements were considered difficult to fill 60 percent of the time, as well as about half of vacancies requiring a high school diploma. Vacancies requiring education beyond high school were also more likely to require previous experience; 80 percent of postsecondary vacancies also required previous experience to qualify, with bachelor’s and advanced degree vacancies following close behind at 78 percent.

Health care and social assistance had the most job vacancies hovering just below 23 percent of the total. Health care and social assistance, retail trade, and construction accounted for just over 50 percent of the total vacancies.

Job Vacancies by Occupation

Personal care aides accounted for about 9 percent (150) of all vacancies. Health care support as an occupational group accounted for the most job vacancies in SW Oregon at 243 (a category that includes personal care aides, medical assistants, and nursing assistants). Transportation related jobs like truck driving and automotive service technicians and mechanics also had a lot of recruitment activity in 2019.

Education continues to pay in Southwestern Oregon and beyond. Total vacancies requiring a high school diploma or less accounted for 1,166 of all the SW Oregon job vacancies. One must keep in mind that while these two categories accounted for two-thirds of vacancies, they also carry the lowest average hourly wages in the SW region. Health care, retail trade, and construction have the highest number of job vacancies, but provide an array of occupational choices to interested or prospective job seekers.

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