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Here are the most difficult jobs for Oregon employers to fill

Researchers with the Oregon Employment Department surveyed 14,000 employers in 2020 and found out of 44,400 job openings, 22,800 were considered difficult to fill.

PORTLAND, Ore. — On the heels of the pandemic, there was the labor shortage, with businesses reporting struggles to find enough applicants to fill posted jobs.

In a recent unscientific survey of Business Journal readers, more than 75% of respondents said they had more trouble hiring workers this year compared with last year.

But for some jobs, finding the right applicants is nothing new. Researchers with the Oregon Employment Department surveyed 14,000 employers in 2020 and found that out of 44,400 job openings, 22,800 were considered by employers as difficult to fill.

SLIDESHOW: The 15 hardest-to-fill jobs in Oregon during 2020


With high unemployment during the pandemic, that share was lower compared with past years. The percentage of job vacancies considered hard to fill was 57% in 2019, down from a peak of 64% of vacancies in 2016 and 2017.

According to OED economist Jessica Nelson's analysis of the findings, the hard-to-fill-jobs had better average pay than other positions (by more than $2.50 an hour) and were more likely to require previous experience.

"With the constantly evolving business restrictions in 2020, along with worker availability that was limited by concerns over the virus and school and child care closures, employers may have needed to offer higher wages or other benefits to find the experienced candidates they were seeking," Nelson wrote.

Using OED findings, we compiled Oregon's most difficult to fill jobs in 2020, based on the number of openings and the percentage of openings in the occupation considered difficult by employers. Click through the slideshow to see the 15 most difficult.

The Portland Business Journal is a KGW News partner.