Bay of Plenty job listings jumped 37 per cent in the year to April and some recruitment agencies say they are now struggling to keep up with demand for workers.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Jobs Online report for April, which measured vacancies advertised by internet job boards Seek, Trade Me Jobs and the Education Gazette, found from April 2015 to April 2016 there had been an annual increase of 37 per cent.
The number of listings rose 1.8 per cent between March and April - the biggest increase in the country.
Statistics by Trade Me Jobs showed similar growth in the job market, with listings for Tauranga up 32 per cent in May 2016, compared to the same month the previous year.
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The number of jobs rose 5 per cent between April and May.
Trade Me communications and community adviser Jeff Hunkin said there were more than 1200 jobs listed in the Bay of Plenty last month.
1st Call Recruitment managing director Phill van Syp said their agency could not keep up with the demand for workers. "If 100 people walked in and passed a drug test tomorrow, we'd be able to get them into jobs," he said.
He said they had a record number of jobs available over the past three months.
The Staff Room director Jill Swan said the recruitment agency had also noticed the growth in job opportunities.
She said the growth had been ongoing, not only in jobs but in candidates with some coming from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
"It's across all sectors. Initially we found the construction industry was probably where a lot of the positions were coming from, but now there is a really diverse range of sectors."
She thought the building boom had a flow-on effect for other industries, with a range of jobs from entry level up to senior management opportunities in the Bay of Plenty area.
Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said the job growth was, "excellent news". "We are now seen as an extremely viable place from which to base a business."
She said Tauranga's competitive advantage was due to factors such as the availability of reasonably priced business land, the attraction of skilled individuals to the lifestyle, proximity to the central and upper North Island, and the competitiveness and efficiency of the Port of Tauranga.
"This job growth is in higher-value jobs in high-value industries, rather than previously when population growth drove economic growth.
"This means we will be less susceptible to fluctuations in global markets, as was the case when our local economy pretty much came to a halt during the global financial crisis," she said.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chairperson Toni Palmer said the increase in job opportunities was an indicator of the business environment.
"Employers are confident in taking on more staff ... Growth in employment means more spending power and a flow-on effect to the wider community."
Job Hunters scour city for work
Mount Maunganui woman Olivia Stubbs has had a varied career, from animal vaccine manufacturer, to honey procurement, to her own business in the beauty industry.
But she is now on the hunt for a new position in the Tauranga job market.
"I'm looking in the logistics area for procurement, shipping, inventory roles ... I think there are more and more coming up regularly because of industries that are moving to town and the ones that are here are getting much bigger," she said.
Her fixed term-contract ended two weeks ago and she had been on the lookout for a new opportunity, but has not yet found a new position.
"I've listed myself with all the agencies in the Bay of Plenty and had recruitment interviews that went really well, they're working really closely with me to find another role," Ms Stubbs said.
She was confident she would find a new job soon, but had her independent beauty consultancy to fall back on.
Ms Stubbs said if she did not have her consultancy, she would be very worried: "I can see how people get very distressed."
Rastah Phillips, of Brookfield, moved back home to Tauranga from Hastings as he saw there were more job opportunities in the Bay.
However, he had found it difficult to find a permanent position, gaining a job in a packhouse with only a month left of the season.
"I think next week is the last week," he said.
He was looking for a new job before his packhouse work ended, but had not had any luck as yet.
"I've got a few call-backs from people but the first thing they ask is if I have any qualifications or experience," he said.
The father of two said he would take a job in any sector.