Nearly half of Oregon job vacancies hard to fill

New state report looks at what jobs - and why

SALEM, Ore. - Businesses reported that nearly half of Oregon's job vacancies in 2013 were "difficult to fill," according to a new report from the Oregon Employment Department.

Major findings about Oregon's difficult-to fill job vacancies include:

The most common reasons employers cited for difficulty filling positions were:

-Lack of qualified candidates (24%)
-Lack of applicants (23%)
-Unfavorable working conditions (17%)
-Low wages (11%)
-Lack of work experience (9%)

Employers are looking for the right combination of education and experience for unique roles within their companies. That may mean a tougher training challenge than if companies were looking for a large number of employees with essentially identical skills.

Employers had a harder time filling positions requiring post-secondary training, but not a college degree.

Mid- and high-wage jobs are more challenging to fill than low-wage ones. As wages rise, responses citing a lack of qualified candidates account for a greater share, topping out at more than half of the responses for jobs paying more than $25 per hour.

Small employers - those with 2 to 19 employees - had the most difficulty filling positions, the report says.

Employers in Northwest Oregon and the Willamette Valley, and in Eastern Oregon, had the most difficulty filling jobs. Portland-area employers had the least difficulty.

Top Difficult-to-Fill Occupations, 2013

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
Farmworkers and Laborers, Crop, Nursery, and Greenhouse
Personal Care Aides
Home Health Aides
Customer Service Representatives
Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers
Registered Nurses
Massage Therapists
Ushers, Lobby Attendants, and Ticket Takers
Cooks, Restaurant

The full report, "Almost Half of Oregon's Job Vacancies are Difficult to Fill, "is available at QualityInfo.org.

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