What Do Competitive Wages Look Like in Your Industry?

This article was published in the Duluth News Tribune on December 2, 2021: View the original article here.

In Northeastern Minnesota, there are 12,886 reported job vacancies, according to data from the state Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Job Vacancies Survey. Compare that to the approximate 7,480 individuals in Northeastern Minnesota currently receiving unemployment benefits.

To put it in perspective, that’s roughly one job seeker for every two job openings.

This ratio is close to what we saw two years ago in September 2019 — the last decade’s low point for the size of the regional labor pool.

The ultra-tight job market leaves you in a tough position if you’re an employer looking for staff.

What’s behind the current workforce misalignment? There are many possible contributing factors.

Apart from COVID-19, other forces at play could include the rise of remote work. While we’re seeing employee shortages across most of our major Northland industries, some career fields remain highly competitive — especially those amenable to remote work.

Regardless of what’s causing the ongoing workforce shortages, the question for employers remains the same: What can I do to attract candidates to fill my open positions?

A common answer from human-resources specialists is to focus on company culture. In a tight job market, many candidates have their pick between various job openings. The working environment and atmosphere can make or break the deal for employees who’ve just been onboarded.

Another bottom line? Unsurprisingly, it comes down to dollars and cents. In this job market, our number one tip at northforce.org for employers is to focus on posting a competitive wage.

How much is enough? Average wages vary widely by industry and job type, but at northforce.org, we’ve been tracking area wages across industries before and during the pandemic.

Based on data from July through October, you can see there are wild discrepancies between the average wage ranges candidates select on their profiles compared to average wages across job listings posted on northforce.org within given industries. Here are a handful of examples:

  • In business, management, and operations: average salary listed is $46,410 while the average salary candidates seek is $74,904.
  • In health and wellness, the average salary listed is $45,464 while the average salary candidates seek is $67,175.
  • In manufacturing, the average salary listed is $41,777 while the average salary candidates seek is $109,000.
  • In marketing and communications, the average salary listed is $40,265 while the average salary candidates seek is $63,657.
  • And in financial services, the average salary listed is $47,786 while the average salary candidates seek is $127,225.

If you’re an employer and you’re having a hard time attracting candidates, it may be that the wage in your job posting is substantially lower than what candidates are seeking.

Want to know what competitive wages look like in your industry? NORTHFORCE is a community-supported program, and much of our data is free and publicly available. We have over five years of compiled stats, and we’re happy to share the numbers.

Email us at info@northforce.org for data on average wages, job postings by industry, types of jobs available, and more trends.

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