What Types of Jobs Were Clackamas County Employers Having Difficulty Filling in 2022?

by Lynn Wallis

May 22, 2023

Each quarter since 2013, the Employment Department surveys private businesses throughout the state with two or more employees. If an employer was hiring, they were asked to provide information about each vacancy that includes the job title, starting wage, educational and experience requirements, and whether the vacancy was difficult to fill.

Private industry firms in Clackamas County reported 11,900 job vacancies at any given time during 2022. This was an increase of 1,846 job vacancies from 2021. During the 2020 pandemic year, the number of vacancies that were reported as “difficult to fill” made up nearly half (49%) of the total number of job vacancies for that year. Since then, the percentage of job vacancies reported as difficult-to-fill increased significantly to 72% in 2021 and 75% in 2022. 
Graph showing difficulty in filling job vacancies, Clackamas County: 2015-2022

What could have caused this jump in difficult-to-fill job openings in Clackamas County during 2021 and 2022? The largest contributing factors probably were:

  1. The record number of total job vacancies in the county caused by rapid economic growth following the 2020 Pandemic Recession.

  1. A tight labor market and low average annual unemployment rates of 4.9% in 2021 and 3.8% in 2022. 

Lack of Applicants Was the Most Common Reason for Difficulty Statewide

The 2022 statewide job vacancy survey asked Oregon’s employers why they thought each of their difficult-to-fill job openings occurred. Out of the 74,424 difficult-to-fill job vacancies in Oregon during 2022, employers provided open-ended responses for nearly three-quarters (72%). The top-five reasons for difficult to-fill vacancies were lack of applicants (54.1%), followed by lack of qualified candidates (17.4%), unfavorable working conditions (6.5%), lack of work experience (5.7%), and low wages (4.9%).
Graph showing primary reasons given by employers in Oregon for difficult to fill vacancies, 2022

Which Broad Occupations Were Most Difficult to Fill in Clackamas County?

In 2022, the broad occupations with the largest amount of difficult-to-fill openings listed in employer responses included food preparation and serving (959); healthcare support (907); construction and extraction (828); installation, maintenance and repair (671); building and grounds cleaning and maintenance (583); and healthcare practitioners and technicians (582).
Table showing top broad occupations with the highest number of difficult to fill job vacancies, Clackamas County: 2022

The picture broadens when looking at specific occupations with 100 or more difficult-to-fill openings within the broad occupational categories. Personal care aides, nursing assistants, cooks, and construction laborers had the most difficult-to-fill vacancies followed by maids and housekeeping cleaners, retail salespersons, landscaping and grounds keeping workers, security guards, and bartenders. These specific occupations made up over one-half (57%) of the difficult-to-fill vacancies in Clackamas County during 2022.
Table showing occupations with the highest number of difficult to fill job vacancies, Clackamas County: 2022

A Path Ahead for Employers Needing to Fill Their Difficult-to-Fill Job Vacancies

What can employers do to increase the probability of filling their difficult-to-fill job openings in today’s job seekers market? An initial review of several agency job-recruitment websites provided some of the following “tips” for successfully recruiting workers for difficult-to-fill job openings in the current labor market:

  • Offer competitive wage (inflation adjusted) and benefit package. 
  • Offer a signing bonus after a period of successful employment.
  • Shorten the typical hiring process to days versus weeks to have a competitive edge.
  • Offer referral bonuses to existing employees.
  • Consider possibly loosening the job requirements to broaden the candidate pool.
  • Build social media networks to share open positions and design an accurate and compelling job description focused on necessary skills.
  • If the job requirements permit, consider making the position more flexible for those workers that value work-life balance.
  • Work with expert recruiters and/or consider hiring from within your company

Additional articles on Oregon’s job vacancies appear on www.QualityInfo.org:

Difficult to Fill Job Openings in 2022

Job Vacancies in Clackamas

Job Vacancies in Portland-Metro

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