Bay job hunters are being given the pick of a growing crop of vacancies in an employment market super-sized by the creation of nearly 400 new positions.
Major employers and agencies contacted by the Bay of Plenty Times were upbeat about job opportunities, which were expected to grow as new major projects and developments planned for the region kicked into gear.
They include the start of work on the $450m Eastern Link Motorway, creating at least 200 jobs, the new New Zealand Dairy Processing export milk-processing facility in Maleme St, opening up 30 new jobs, and a new contract by Tauranga business Kiwi Bus Builders, for which the first of at least 80 jobs are already being advertised.
Another 60 new Tauranga jobs are being created by Bidvest NZ, the country's leading supplier to the food service and hospitality sector, at its new distribution centre nearing completion in the Tauriko Business Estate.
Last month, the Bay of Plenty Times advertised 827 jobs.
Most jobs were advertised in the trades and services sector (137), in primary industry (136) and healthcare and medical (106).
Other strong areas were manufacturing and production (56), sales and hospitality (48 each) and education and training (47).
Saturday's Bay of Plenty Times Weekend advertised 77 vacancies.
This morning, Trade Me was advertising 261 jobs in the Western Bay, including 239 in Tauranga.
In Tauranga, the sectors seeking the most employees were trades and services (50), hospitality and tourism (23), retail (19), sales (21), healthcare (20), manufacturing and operations (8), engineering (16) and IT (14).
Head of Trade Me Jobs, Peter Ashby, said listed vacancies in the Bay of Plenty between October and December last year were up 31 per cent on the same period the year before.
"In terms of industries, construction and architecture led the way with 58 per cent growth in job listings. Why?
"The Bay's fantastic climate and al fresco lifestyle continues to lure people to the region from around the country and one of the first things they do is get their dream home built."
Other industries to see growth compared with the previous year included hospitality and tourism, education and retail.
Seek website had 278 jobs listed in Tauranga and NZ Herald Jobs was listing 13. 1st Call Recruitment assistant manager Kirsty Morrison said an increase in job vacancies in the Western Bay had resulted in the Tauranga agency boosting its own staff numbers "dramatically" over the past five years.
"There are a lot of jobs going and we are very positive about the year going forward, and that's the reason for the staff increase. Generally, people seem a lot more positive."
Bay of Plenty District Health Board had about 50 vacancies, including specialist clinical positions, jobs in allied healthcare and non-clinical positions.
Zespri communications manager Melanie Palmer said the beginning of each year was a busy time for the company as it "ramped up" for the kiwifruit season.
Mike Chapman, chief executive of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers and chairman of the sector's Labour Governance Group for Bay of Plenty, said the industry would need 7000 extra workers when the picking season starts in April.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Max Mason said there had been a definite increase in advertised jobs over the past three weeks. "As per normal this has included an increase in roles associated with the kiwifruit industry.
"The hospitality sector is still recruiting steadily and student labour will shortly return to study improving employment opportunities for those that remain in the town."
Mr Mason said while the number of unemployed people had risen nationally, there were a large number of job hunters who had either decided not to register for unemployment. "It is pleasing to see that some employers are positively increasing staff numbers, taking advantage of government funding schemes to do so."