Job vacancies surge in Washington state, now taking longer to fill open positions

helpwanted-jobsA new report out today from Washington state’s Employment Security Department confirms what many companies in the burgeoning tech industry already know. It’s getting harder to recruit workers, and it’s taking longer to fill open positions.

The latest Job Vacancy and Hiring Survey Report indicates that job vacancies increased by 23 percent in the fall of 2013 to 86,636, while estimated hiring jumped 10 percent to 209,092. That compared to 70,434 job vacancies and estimated hiring of 190,182 in the fall of 2012.

On average, positions in the state were open for 66 days in the fall of 2013, up from 19 days in the fall of 2012.

In other words, it is getting harder to hire talented folks.

You might think software engineers and coders would be the sector with the most vacancies, given all of the press around computer science education and the desperate needs of many fast-growing tech companies. However, the survey shows that there were more vacancies among farmworkers and laborers (15 percent of total vacancies); retail salespeople (5.2 percent of total vacancies); and office clerks (2.4 percent of total vacancies).

Software developers and systems developers represented 0.9 percent of total vacancies in the state.

STEM jobs — those in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math —have seen vacancies increase from 8.3 percent in the spring of 2013 to 12.7 percent in the fall of 2013. They were not tracked by the state in 2012.

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The hiring trend does not show any sign of slowing down. Washington state employers said that they plan to nearly double the number of vacancies by the fall of 2014, shooting up to 154,547. More than half of those jobs are expected in the urban counties of Western Washington.

The Employment Security Department sent the survey to about 12,000 employers last fall.  Full report here:

Job Vacancy and Hiring Survey Report 2013 Fall

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