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|Articles - July/August 2014|
|Friday, July 11, 2014|
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BY KIM MOORE
OB: How has the economic recovery affected companies’ hiring strategies?
KM: A lot of companies are more hesitant to take on permanent or full-time employees. They are utilizing staffing firms more because of the questionable hiring costs that are coming down the road, such as from the Affordable Care Act. Employers are unsure what the costs of the act will be.
OB: Is there a lack of skilled labor force in the Portland metro area?
KM: Trades and manufacturing are probably the biggest [skills] gaps we have. I serve on the board of directors for Portland Community College, and as a nation, we have lost focus on how we educate people. When you are taking a PCC welding program, we see it as a top tier; you have reached a pinnacle for that career. As a state, we are looking at instead of making welding a two-year program, [make] welding a certificate or a badging-type program. You get a badge or some form of recognition that you passed, but you can become a fabricator once you have learned how to read blueprints; and then you can go into metallurgy and maybe even engineering.
OB: Why do you think there is not much emphasis on progressing past a basic level of certification for trades?
KM: It is just the way the U.S. has viewed that kind of training. Most of the time, employers have thought they need to fill a gap quickly, so they were not concerned about training or progressing on the job. But technology is changing. Machining has gone from manual machining to computer numeric control [CNC] machining. We also have 3-D printing. Employers are starting to realize we have to stay ahead of the curve.
OB: In which sectors are you seeing job growth?
KM: With the positions that are being created in health care, they are expecting huge growth there. Construction is growing quickly. I don’t feel we have enough people trained in construction to fill those needs. We even find in manufacturing that it is hard to fill entry-level positions.
OB: Have you noticed a demographic shift in the types of people who are looking for jobs in the Portland area?
KM: Yes, especially in the trades. I mentioned the machining field; the older segment that were trained as manual machinists have to go back to retrain in CNC machining. The younger employees know how to operate the CNC machines. Our recruiting process has changed because we have to be more aware of that younger demographic. If you look at our advertising campaign ‘I am Madden,’ it is geared more toward a younger field. We are spotlighting employees in our campaigns. We have bus ads with pictures of actual employees. We have done TV advertisements with actual employees. Through this, we are trying to attract a younger, more tech-savvy applicant.
OB: Are companies hiring more as the economy recovers?
RC: Yes, they are hiring more. In 2008, 2009 and well into 2010, there was very little hiring going on. Are we back to 2006 levels? We are not. But we are seeing a steady increase.
OB: When do you think the job market will return to prerecession levels?
RC: I believe we are coming close now. At our staffing company we see a pendulum: We swing between one extreme of being a sales-driven company and the other extreme of being a recruiting company. In 2008-2009, we were totally sales driven because there were enough employees out there to fill virtually any jobs that we had available. We are seeing the pendulum swing to the other side now, where we are starting to become more of a recruiting company, where we have to work harder to get particular kinds of people in the door.
OB: In what parts of the state are you finding it harder to fill positions?
RC: In our smaller branches or markets, such as Roseburg and Albany, we are not having quite so many problems finding employees. In the Portland, Eugene and Medford areas, we are starting to see some pressure on being able to recruit.
OB: Why do you think it is harder to recruit in Portland, Eugene and Medford?
RC: Part of the problem is the wages have not kept up. Employers still think it is an employers’ market. They have not kept up with the fact that we are getting closer to a full level of employment, and that they are going to have to offer some higher wages in order to fill their positions. I think what we will see on the horizon in the next year is that there will be a pressure to increase wages. That is the vortex we are at. More people are saying, ‘I am not going to work for $11 an hour,’ or ‘I have to have a minimum of this or that before I work for you.’ Those employees that have skills are getting to be a little more picky.
OB: Seattle just increased the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Would that benefit Oregon?
RC: The problem with artificially increasing the minimum wage is that employers will find ways not to fill positions, or they will automate. It puts pressure on employers’ ability to grow and offer employment when you have artificially high wages.
OB: Is there a healthier jobs market in certain areas of the state as opposed to other regions?
RC: Medford is a market unto itself. It is well enough removed from the rest of the state that it is its own little biosphere, if you will. We are starting to see some gains in that market. Some of the wood products are starting to come back. There was a lot of industry that left that area in the early to late 2000s, and it put a real hurt on the employment. But there have been some new industries that have moved back into the area, which is helping the economy down there. There is new building in that area. Those are good economic indicators, when investors are willing to go out and start building structures.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER
Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
BY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Bob Dethlefs, CEO of Evanta, balances work and play.
Friday, October 31, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland? The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented. But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Seven tidbits of information from an agency partner and co-founder of Waggener Edstrom in Lake Oswego.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president.
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|Fed stresses 'patience' regarding interest rate|
|Obama to announce end of Cuba isolation|
|Energy prices drop cost of living in US by most since 2008|
|Russia's attempt to slow ruble freefall fails|
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