Oregon Job Vacancies: Hiring in 2022 Continued to Outpace Hiring Prior to the PandemicFebruary 28, 2023
Oregon employers reported 104,000 job openings at any given time in 2022. This is a record level of vacancies, after a previous record of 97,000 was reached in 2021. While the volume of vacancies in 2022 exceeded pre-pandemic levels, many of the characteristics Oregon employers were looking for didn’t change much during the pandemic recession and recovery. A typical job vacancy tends to be for a full-time, permanent position. Less than one-third (29%) require education beyond high school and more than half require previous experience (52%).
The rapid job recovery continued in 2022 and showed up in several ways in the job vacancy survey. It took longer to hire in 2021 and 2022. Employers reported more vacancies that had been open for 60 days or longer, accounting for 36% of 2022 vacancies, compared with 19% in 2019, just prior to the pandemic. The competitive hiring environment as the economy expanded after the pandemic recession made it much more difficult for employers to fill their openings. Seven out of 10 vacancies were reported as difficult to fill, up from 57% in 2019.
Throughout the year, the Oregon Employment Department surveys private employers from all industries and areas of the state to ask about job vacancies they are actively trying to fill. For each vacancy, the employer provides the job title, starting wage, and education and experience requirements for the job. They also specify whether their vacancies are for full- or part-time positions, and permanent or seasonal jobs. If they face challenges with vacancies, employers also write in the primary reason for difficulty filling their job openings.
In 2022, health care and social assistance reported the most vacancies of any industry (22,200), followed by leisure and hospitality (17,900), retail trade (9,500), and construction (9,700). Together these four sectors accounted for 55% of all job openings statewide. Hiring demand was spread across the economy. All industries reported at least 1,000 job vacancies at any given time in the year
Employers were hiring for a wide variety of jobs; they reported vacancies across 435 different occupations. Occupations with the highest number of job vacancies in 2022 still reflected the recovery of jobs lost during the early pandemic and efforts to staff up as business capacities rebounded. Trends are also affected by staffing in health care, a sector that continues to deal with a lasting pandemic and which tends to require more education, making the available supply of workers inadequate to meet current needs. Top occupations across the economy included retail salespersons (3,500); personal care aides (3,200); nursing assistants (3,200); restaurant cooks (3,000); heavy truck drivers (2,600); and fast food and counter workers (2,500).
Full-Time and Permanent Help Wanted
Across all industries, most job vacancies (81%) offered full-time employment in 2022. That share rose as high as 97% in construction, 96% in manufacturing, and 95% in wholesale trade. Leisure and hospitality had a low share compared with the average, at 61% full-time. Restaurant cooks, fast food and counter workers, maids and housekeeping cleaners, and waiters and waitresses had the most openings in leisure and hospitality, but many of these positions were not full time. In every other sector, except private educational services, at least seven out of 10 job openings were for full-time work.
Almost one-third (29%) of job vacancies require education beyond high school. That varied widely among industries. While more than half of private educational services (65%); information (57%); professional, scientific, and technical services (54%); and other services (52%) job openings required higher education, few openings among leisure and hospitality (4%), retail trade (8%), and natural resources and mining (11%) vacancies required education beyond high school.
More Education, More Experience, and Higher Wages
As education requirements rose, so did the average starting wage for job openings. Job vacancies with no education requirement averaged $17.45 per hour in 2022. That rose to $19.25 for job vacancies requiring a high school diploma. Employers offered an average of $29.60 per hour for jobs with either some college, an associate degree, or a special certification beyond high school. Vacancies with bachelor’s or advanced degree requirements paid even more per hour, averaging $35.62.
Shares of job vacancies requiring previous experience also rose along with education requirements. While 37% of job vacancies with no education requirement reported a need for previous experience, almost two-thirds (58%) with a high school diploma wanted seasoned candidates. That grew to 72% of job vacancies where applicants needed postsecondary or other certifications. Nearly all (90%) job openings at the bachelor’s and advanced degree level required previous work experience.
As rapid hiring continued in 2022 to replace jobs lost in 2020 during the pandemic, Oregon’s job vacancies rose to record levels. Employers are facing more difficulty hiring to fill their job openings and those listings are often staying open longer as employers compete for the limited supply of available workers. Still, the characteristics employers are looking for haven’t changed much in the pandemic and recovery. Most job vacancies offered full-time work schedules, and employers were mostly looking to fill permanent positions. Vacancies with higher education requirements also came along with a greater likelihood for prior experience requirements, and higher average wages.
More information about regional and statewide job vacancies can be found in the Job Vacancy Survey section on the publications page of QualityInfo.org.