Portland Job Seekers Speak: New Survey Reveals Frustrations and Expectations

Mac Prichard - Mac's List, Prichard Communications In today’s tight hiring market, job seekers have more power than ever before in the hiring process. I’m proud of the work we do at Mac’s List to advocate for a more humane, transparent, and empathetic hiring process. Now is the time for organizations to focus in on the needs, expectations, and pain points of job seekers, and redesign hiring processes to better serve candidates. Doing this work will help you to reach, hire, and retain more of the right people for your organization.

Earlier this year, Mac’s List asked our readers to share their thoughts on the local job market. We received over 700 responses from local job seekers, and their feedback may surprise you. Many Portland-area job seekers are frustrated. They expect more from employers, and they have clear priorities and concerns when looking for work. The Mac’s List team has analyzed these responses and pulled together some revealing, insightful data about the Portland job market. In this new State of the Portland Job Seeker report, Mac’s List puts job seekers front and center, allowing local employers to learn more about their expectations, their priorities, and how they make decisions about where to apply and where to work.

Here’s a few of the key findings from our report:

Local workers are recruitable.
Ninety-four percent of all survey respondents say they were looking for a new job. Of those who were currently employed, 91 percent said they were looking. There’s an incredible opportunity for employers to capitalize on this large audience of recruitable, local candidates.

Employer branding is more crucial than ever before.
Reputation matters, and job seekers have the tools to find out what employers are all about. Candidates said they use employer websites, review websites, social media, and other online tools to learn about jobs and employers. As online reviews influence decision making more and more, employers must work on their employer brand and walk the talk.

Salary expectations match market averages.
Portland workers have a strong sense of how much they are worth, and expect to make a living wage. The average minimum acceptable salary among respondents almost exactly matched the average hourly wage in the Portland metro for 2019. For employers, salary transparency will go a long way in attracting applicants and retaining new hires.

Mission and team matters more than salary.
According to the survey, there are many factors that go into a candidate’s decision to apply for a job, or to accept a job offer. While money is important, survey respondents put other factors ahead of salary when deciding to apply for or accept a job.

Candidates expect more from employers’ hiring processes.
When asked, “How can employers better connect with job seekers like you?” Top responses grouped around five key requests:

  • Improve candidate communications during the hiring process. Communicate your timeline and provide updates on the candidate’s status.
  • Post salaries in job listings.
  • Write better, more comprehensive job descriptions.
  • Reach out to older and more diverse candidates.
  • Be more transparent in expectations for candidates and new hires. Communicate your expectations clearly throughout the hiring and onboarding process.

I want to carry on the important work of listening to both job seekers and employers in our community. From this data, I see many opportunities for greater connection and better outcomes in the local workforce. If you’re hiring, I strongly encourage you to reframe your policies and practices with job seekers in mind. By eliminating barriers and providing a more informative, human hiring process, you will attract great local talent. Putting in the work today will lead to more successful hires, better retention, and more productivity in your organization’s future.

If you’re interested in seeing the full findings from Mac’s List’s job seeker survey report, I encourage you to explore the data and insights in our full 10-page report. I’ve just touched on a few of the key findings here, and there’s more to explore. Click here to download the full report: State of the Portland Job Seeker 2019.

Contributed by: Mac Prichard — Publisher, Mac’s List

Mac is the founder and publisher of Mac’s List, where he writes regularly about job hunting, leads classes on job search skills, and hosts the “Find Your Dream Job” podcast.