Understanding how your take home pay compares to others in your field, or someone in a different career, is vitally important. He can let you know how your job is valued and whether you want to pursue more lucrative career options in the future.
Likewise, hiring employers benefit from knowing the range of salaries paid to workers in positions similar to those they are seeking to hire, in their area of the state.
Through survey responses from state employers, the Oregon Department of Employment publishes salary estimates for more than 750 occupations, as well as hundreds of occupations in every region of the state. The 2022 version of professional salary information is now available.
The average annual salary for all occupations in Oregon was $61,465 in 2022, or $29.55 per hour. Of the occupations for which data was released, gaming merchants had the lowest average wage at $14.29 per hour. General internal medicine physicians had the highest average salary ($138.86 per hour). Specialist physicians like general internal medicine physicians have such a high average salary because it takes many years of education and experience to perform this level of work.
Cost of living, diversity of industries and available labor can vary from state to state. We may see more software engineers and people working at corporate headquarters in Portland, while natural resource jobs may be more concentrated in rural communities, and leisure and hospitality jobs concentrated near the side.
Salary estimates reflect these differences. The average hourly wage for Multnomah and Washington counties (the Portland-Metro area) was $33.25, and Clackamas County came in at $30.15 in 2022. Oregon ($24.34) and Southwestern Oregon ($24.26) had lower average wages than jobs around the Portland Tri-County Area.
Salary estimates are not immune to the influences of the pandemic. We have seen changes in employment levels and salaries in different parts of the state. When we started publishing salary data during the pandemic, we started to see that the average salary for Northwestern Oregon ($27.16) was higher than the Mid-Valley. ($27.00), which we haven’t seen since 2016.
Leisure and hotel jobs
While year-to-year variations can generally be stored based on adjustments for inflation and changes in the composition of the companies sampled in the survey, national data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows states that experienced a higher relative decline in employment in leisure and hospitality saw higher than expected changes in average wages.
Before the pandemic, northwest Oregon had a higher share of workers employed in recreation and hospitality than the Mid-Valley region. Leisure and hospitality jobs in many cases pay below average wages. If the pandemic-related closures have had a negative effect on jobs at the bottom of the pay scale, the average salary of the jobs that remain in the region will increase because these lower-paying jobs are not counted. Maybe that’s what we see in northwest Oregon, and generally across the country.
We’ll have to watch wage estimates for the next two years to see if average wages in the Mid-Valley outpace Northwest Oregon as employment in recreation and hospitality recovers.
Looking at average salaries is like trying to diagnose a patient just by taking their temperature. You may feel like something is wrong, but you may not be able to fully understand the many reasons. We need to analyze the salary ranges of different professions to better assess how the salary of one career aligns with that of another. Salary ranges give us a better idea of what we might expect if we were to hire or work in a particular profession.
We provide salary ranges by publishing a series of percentiles for each occupation. A salary percentile indicates the percentage of workers in an occupation who earn less than a given salary and the percentage who earn more. In most cases, wages at the 10th or 25th percentile likely reflect workers who are starting a career or have lower levels of education than others doing similar work. To better understand the salary ranges, let’s take a look at the salaries of some nursing professions in Oregon.
Many frontline healthcare providers begin their careers as nursing assistants, home health aides or other personal care providers. Workers interested in becoming a registered nurse usually need to have previous related experience, and these entry-level positions are a great way to do that. Registered nurses work in a number of settings, and many nurses have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and maintain the necessary licenses.
Most registered nursing jobs in Oregon pay between $37.95 and $63.60 per hour. We can see that those who continue their career paths and move into other jobs, such as nurse practitioners, can also see significant salary increases. About half of all nurse practitioners in Oregon earn more than 90% of all registered nurses.
Salaries may also be different depending on the context in which health care providers work. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses working in hospitals typically earn salaries more than 20% higher than their counterparts working in nursing and residential care settings. A higher minimum education requirement, along with tough working conditions may be some of the reasons we are seeing higher salaries for hospital nurses.
Professional salary information gives us a better understanding of what people are paid for the work they do and how that might differ from state to state.
For additional salary estimates for hundreds of careers, visit QualityInfo.org.