Mac’s List Surveys Job Seekers, Says Portland Employers Missing Opportunities to Recruit Talent


Mac’s List, an Oregon-based job board, released a new report today that reveals a divide between Portland’s record low unemployment rate and how local workers perceive their career prospects.

In a survey of more than 700 local professionals, Mac’s List found that a majority of people — 54 percent — feel disconnected from the regional hiring boom, while 68 percent of respondents reported mild-to-no satisfaction with their job, and 27 percent expressed low confidence in their ability to find a better job.

The report, State of the Portland Job Seeker 2019, describes several challenges professionals say they face while searching for work in the Portland region. And while it shows that while most respondents want a new job, many are unhappy with the hiring practices of local employers. Mac’s List founder Mac Prichard says the survey also lays out practical steps for employers can take to improve this situation.

“The good news is that the report shows there are recruitable pools of talent in our region,” Prichard said. “However based on what we found, too many employers are missing the mark in their efforts to recruit with these workers.”

The report reveals how local candidates evaluate employers and local job opportunities. It also shares findings on what motivates job seekers to apply for and accept new jobs. Among the top findings:

  • Local workers are recruitable. Ninety-four percent of all respondents say they are looking for a new job. Of those who were currently employed, 91 percent said they were looking.
  • Salary expectations match market averages. 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 matches with the average hourly wage in the Portland metro.
  • Mission and team matters more than salary. While money is important, survey respondents put  employers’ internal culture, mission, and institutional values ahead of salary when deciding to apply for a job.
  • Job seekers want a hiring process that works. The survey found that outdated hiring practices — particularly poor communication and lack of clarity with candidates — deter many people from applying for or accepting new roles.  

Prichard said the survey findings should challenge employers to reexamine their hiring practices. As employers face current and projected labor shortages, the report asks local organizations to rethink recruitment strategies and focus on empathy and communication to improve hiring and retention in the long term.

“Job seekers have more power in the hiring process than ever before,” Prichard said. “We think that’s a good thing, and it’s time for employers to listen and rethink how they engage with candidates. The policies employers used even just five years ago won’t work to attract talent in 2019. This report provides a basis to build a more human approach to hiring.”

State of the Portland Job Seeker 2019 report is available on the Mac’s List website.