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Each quarter, the Oregon Employment Department performs a statewide survey of business to determine how many employers are currently hiring and specific information about each job opening, such as the job title and educational or experience requirements. They also ask whether the employer is having a difficult time filling positions, in order to report on that aspect of the hiring picture and to determine whether there are ways to make jobs easier to fill. The Department recently released its report summarizing the final quarter of 2022.

In Clackamas County, the percentage of job openings reported as “difficult to fill” increased from 72 percent in 2021 to 75 percent in 2022. This is certainly in tune with the general news flow on the job market, as many employers have reported difficulty in finding enough workers as the economy has recovered from the Covid-19 Pandemic. Unemployment is already low, meaning there are relatively fewer workers seeking work, shrinking the available pool for employers seeking to fill positions. These trends are reflected in the top two reasons employers gave for difficulty filling positions: “Lack of applicants” (54.1%) and “Lack of qualified candidates (17.4%), together making up over 70 percent.

In Clackamas County, the most difficult jobs to fill crossed many industry groups. Food preparation and serving were 10.7%, Healthcare support (10.1%) and Construction and extraction (9.2%) were the most frequently mentioned areas, but many other industries also had problems, including Maintenance and repair, Sales, and Transportation.

The Department also issued advice to employers on ways they might create a more successful hiring process. The ideas include:

  • 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

Items such as “hiring bonuses,” more aggressive use of Social Media to reach out to potential employees as well as more flexibility in office vs remote work have been increasingly used by employers in recent months.