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Old 02-17-2011, 02:34 PM
625 posts, read 1,184,972 times
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I am about to apply for a job at UO that I think I am qualified for. However, the pay is about 25% below what I make in Colorado (though better benefits), although the cost of living is Eugene is maybe just slightly lower. The salary made me wonder if I'd be taking a step down in responsibility. I double checked the duties, thinking this might be a more administrative type job, but nope it includes program design and management and oversight of a grad assistant, has admin support, etc. A small step down from my last job, but a good chance to get out of where I am now. I like the program, the idea of working at the University, the benefits and vacation time, and I think Eugene is nice if a bit grungy (in the past I've been partial to Portland but as I'm interested in organic farming maybe the big city isn't the best place?). Also really looking to move on from where I am.

For those who moved to Eugene from elsewhere, is it typical to see lower salaries in Eugene? Or is it b/c it is University employment?

Last edited by docwatson; 02-17-2011 at 02:58 PM..
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Old 02-17-2011, 04:38 PM
Location: Lakewood OH
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I can't speak for Eugene per se but you will find that often salaries in general in many fields are lower in Oregon than elsewhere. And the employee is expected do many more tasks than they would at the same job in other cities. I know someone who is a librarian/teacher at OSU and claims she is paid less than those having comparable positions in other states and her tasks are greater.

People want to live here so much that they are willing to accept this and employers take advantage.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:38 PM
Location: Baker City, Oregon
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According to City-Data:

2009 median household income for Boulder was $47,967, for Eugene, $39,640.

For the state of Colorado it was $55,430, for Oregon, $48,457.
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:50 AM
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Thanks for your replies.

Karl - I guess I was wondering more comparing jobs with similar responsibiltiy/field, if people took a salary reduction to come to Oregon. The Front Range area also has many more high-tech jobs and a much higher proportion of college grads than the Eugene area, so I would guess this accounts for a fair bit of the median wage difference?

Of course if one compares cost of living in Boulder vs. Eugene, I'd probably come out ahead - but none of us mere mortals buy a home in Boulder. I think Eugene home prices are actually very similar to Fort Collins or Longmont.
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Old 02-18-2011, 12:22 PM
Location: Portland, Oregon
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The Willamette Valley (from Eugene to Portland Metro) is well loved. I believe a demographer quoted on NPR said that we have 10% more residents holding college degrees. Young adults who visit come back to stay. This results in salary compression.

A high tech company needed to consolidate operations to either the Portland area or the Silicon Valley. The SV skilled folks would move to Portland metro, Portland metro wouldn't move to SV. The employer is working on expanding their Portland metro facility as we speak.
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Old 02-18-2011, 01:10 PM
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Salary compression!
What'll they think of next? : )
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:04 PM
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Well to let you know, one of the problems with U of O is the relatively low salaries they pay teachers at the uni. They've had trouble keeping qualified people at the school....
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:26 PM
Location: Dallas, Oregon & Sunsites Arizona
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People are willing to work for less at what they perceive to be a better place to live. Also many come here for the marijuana and are willing to work for nearly nothing in order to toke and stay free of the hoosegow.
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:16 PM
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Eugene (and Oregon) is a lifestyle, as is Boulder Co. There is an oversupply of educated people, and with the old Supply/Demand problem, wages are low.
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:57 PM
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It's really weird.

My husband took a pay cut so that we could move here the first time. We were living in California back then and we wanted out, bad, and he was offered this gig in Eugene and even though he thought he was going to be earning less, and even though we'd never even heard of Eugene and didn't know anything about living in the PNW - we wanted out so bad that he took the job and we hightailed it northwards up the 5.

So we got here, and we settled in, and we bought our raingear and some coats, and when we did our taxes we discovered he ended up making about 20% more than he did in California even though his base salary was higher in California. And our cost of living was lower in Eugene. So needless to say this worked out very well for us!

Fast forward three years. Three happy little years. He was offered a gig in the Seattle area. We thought it would be nice to live in a larger town, we loved the PNW and thought we'd love it there, too... so he went there with a big fat pay raise (due to higher cost of living). He earned more, his base salary being much higher than it was in Eugene, but it felt to us like he was earning a lot less simply due to the high cost of living plus the fact that because it was a larger and more congested area, we had a lot less relaxed family or free time. We couldn't stand it there. It was stressful and horrible. I won't go into all of it. We've tried to forget it and put it behind us, actually.

So anyway, word got around in the company that he wasn't happy, and it just very luckily for us happened that Eugene wanted him back! They missed him, too. So a year later, we moved back home. Pay cut and all. And we've never been happier.

And the weird thing... again... is that once again even though he took a pay cut to come back, again we are financially better off than we were when he was technically earning a higher salary in a larger city.... due to cost of living and taxes and other factors.

So.... our lesson... that we learned the hard and hectic way (typical for us)... was this: you find where you're happy, you put down your roots, and you follow your heart and not your wallet. Don't chase apples or carrots hanging by strings. The grass is not always greener. Chase whatever it is that's calling you home and keeping you happy, and once you catch it: stay put. Because it'll all work out in the end as long as you're in your happy place.

pickering: what is "hoosegow"?
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