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Who is hiring in Oregon?

April 13, 2012

Help Wanted: Prior Experience Required  
By Oregon Employment Department
Work Force Oregon

Each year the Oregon Employment Department conducts a Job Vacancy Survey to get a complete picture of what employers are seeking to add to their current workforce. The survey asks about occupations; wages; full-time, seasonal, or temporary status; as well as education and training requirements. The most recent survey, conducted in fall 2011, indicated that there were approximately 30,400 job vacancies in Oregon during the month of October. During the same month there were 176,400 unemployed Oregonians, or roughly 5.8 unemployed people for each vacancy. In the fall of 2010 there were 6.5 unemployed per vacancy. Nationally, there are roughly 4.2 unemployed per vacancy.

The health care and social assistance industry accounted for nearly 19 percent of all vacancies, more than any other industry. The retail trade and administrative and waste services sectors also had many vacancies, each accounting for roughly 14 percent of all vacancies.

There were more vacancies for office and administrative support occupations (4,010) and sales and related occupations (3,967) than any other occupation group (Table 1). In contrast, vacancies in protective service occupations (329) and life, physical, and social sciences (105) were the sparsest during the month. Three specific occupations had more than 1,000 vacancies each: retail salesperson, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, and customer service representatives.

Oregon’s job vacancies offered an average wage of $16.58 per hour, although average wages varied drastically by occupation, education requirement, and licensure requirement. Vacancies that did not require education beyond high school offered an average hourly wage below $15 per hour, compared with average hourly wages of $20.04 per hour for vacancies requiring an associate or vocational degree, $28.05 per hour for a bachelor’s degree, and $34.54 for a graduate degree (Graph 1). A strong correlation exists between more education and higher wages. However, nearly 60 percent of all Oregon vacancies in October did not require any education beyond high school and as a result more than half of all vacancies offered a starting wage below $15 per hour.

While only 32 percent of Oregon’s job vacancies required education beyond high school, 73 percent required previous work experience. More than 11,600 vacancies required between one and five years of experience, while nearly 3,000 required five years of experience or more (Table 2). Job vacancies that required at least one year of experience were much more likely to be for full-time positions, while vacancies requiring any prior experience were more likely to be for permanent positions compared with vacancies with no requirement. A strong correlation exists between prior experience and education; job vacancies that required longer periods of prior experience were more likely to require higher education, and vice versa.

The survey captured data for two regions, the Portland Tri-County area (Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington counties) and all other areas of the state combined. The Portland Tri-County area had 17,782 vacancies (59% of Oregon’s vacancies) compared with 12,602 (41%) throughout the rest of the state. Vacancies in the Portland Tri-County area were more likely to require previous experience, less likely to require a license or certificate, and more likely to be for temporary or seasonal jobs compared with the rest of the state.

The Oregon Job Vacancy Survey has been conducted each fall since 2008. The estimated number of job vacancies statewide in the fall of 2011 was essentially unchanged from the estimated count of vacancies in the fall of 2010. Due to differences in survey methods, the total statewide estimate of vacancies is the only figure that can be compared to previous survey periods; information about vacancies by occupation, average wage rates, educational requirements, etc., can’t be compared with prior years.

 

Table 1
Oregon Job Vacancies by Occupation Group, Fall 2011
Occupation Group Vacancies Average Hourly Wage Full-time Positions Permanent Positions Requiring Education Beyond

High School

Requiring License or Certificate Requiring Previous Experience
All Occupations        30,384 $16.58 64% 79% 32% 32% 73%
Office and Administrative Support          4,010 $12.55 67% 73% 20% 8% 63%
Sales and Related Occupations          3,967 $12.77 54% 63% 15% 11% 73%
Transportation and Material Moving          3,131 $15.02 58% 80% 0% 47% 60%
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical          2,273 $26.56 68% 85% 78% 90% 81%
Food Preparation and Serving Related          2,062 $9.47 15% 67% 2% 69% 65%
Computer and Mathematical          1,834 $27.88 98% 97% 47% 10% 98%
Business and Financial Operations          1,448 $21.13 94% 92% 57% 33% 99%
Education, Training, and Library          1,322 $16.85 37% 67% 74% 40% 71%
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair          1,320 $16.58 77% 94% 14% 23% 94%
Management Occupations          1,277 $29.96 96% 98% 80% 18% 94%
Healthcare Support Occupations          1,227 $12.75 74% 97% 38% 77% 70%
Production Occupations          1,097 $16.98 94% 82% 30% 6% 76%
Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media             981 $16.53 45% 68% 29% 15% 71%
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance             902 $11.61 45% 89% 2% 9% 55%
Personal Care and Service             807 $10.59 47% 99% 14% 36% 65%
Community and Social Service             609 $16.50 77% 100% 88% 18% 84%
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry             486 $10.27 10% 15% 0% 0% 5%
Architecture and Engineering             399 $30.29 99% 92% 93% 13% 96%
Construction and Extraction             388 $14.01 84% 33% 14% 29% 46%
Legal Occupations             341 $39.33 91% 100% 84% 65% 100%
Protective Service Occupations             329 $10.75 22% 61% 12% 78% 41%
Life, Physical, and Social Science             105 $18.73 61% 63% 73% 10% 40%
All Other & Unclassified                69 $13.23 100% 100% 0% 71% 29%
Table 2
Oregon Job Vacancies by Experience Requirement, Fall 2011
Prior Experience Required Vacancies Average Hourly Wage Full-time Positions Permanent Positions Requiring Education Beyond

High School

Requiring License or Certificate
All Requirements       30,384 $16.58 64% 79% 32% 32%
No Requirement        7,666 $12.35 53% 62% 13% 27%
<1 Year        5,817 $13.37 50% 84% 18% 38%
1-5 Years       11,627 $17.74 72% 82% 41% 35%
5+ Years        2,940 $32.14 89% 89% 72% 33%
Unknown        2,334 $16.38 55% 93% 33% 18%
Graph 1

 

  
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