Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Employers struggling amid skills shortage and jobs boom

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Omanu Bricklayers director Damon Page says he could hire three experienced staff if he could find them. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
Omanu Bricklayers director Damon Page says he could hire three experienced staff if he could find them. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

The number of job listings in the Bay has jumped 22 per cent as employers struggle to find qualified staff amid a growing skills shortage.

One a construction and building company from Whangarei was looking for six employees and a site to operate from - while pay rates have lifted as candidates negotiate higher wages as demand outstrips supply, recruitment agencies say.

Data from Seek shows the number of job listings in the Bay of Plenty was up 22 per cent in May to July quarter compared to the same time last year.

Omanu Bricklayers director Damon Page said he could hire three experienced bricklayers or good tradesmen today if he could find them.

Mr Page had kept a TradeMe advertisement running ''for a couple of years'' and had placed print vacancies locally and in Christchurch for the past four months.

The response ''has been quiet... sometimes there is no response at all''.

''We have found a couple of guys through the ads and that is why you keep running them as it keeps your name out there so people know you are always looking.''

Waldron Construction and Roofing owner Brett Waldron, from Whangarei, said he was in the city on a six-week deadline to ''employ some people and find us a yard and office''.

Mr Waldron had an advertisement running for one month and ''had one applicant that didn't even come close but I do have four interviews scheduled for today''.

''I will need six staff in the next month.''

But he was feeling positive about opening a branch in the Tauranga.

Harper Smith Recruitment director Paddy Shaw said there had been slight surge in salaries that was dictated by a skills shortage.

Positions that were hard to fill included architecture and design roles, quantity surveying and project management.

However, if you are looking for a change of career or direction, or if you are an older worker, then Tauranga is going to be more challenging to find work - as there is a lot of competition out there right now.
Chamber of Commerce's Stan Gregec

Employers looked fondly upon those with local experience and immigrants based in Auckland were relocating.

''We get the best of the crop from Auckland its those people that want to relocate to Tauranga, they are already residents or New Zealand citizens with some local experience.''

Staff Room director Jill Cachemaille said job vacancies had increased in construction and associated sectors.

''It's not just building companies but building services right across the board to administration and accounting roles.''

Priority One chairman Brett Hewlett said it hoped to appoint a new chief executive by the end of the month and the board and panel struggled to shortlist candidates due to interest.

''We were slightly overwhelmed by the level of response. We were very pleased with the strength of numbers that applied and the high quality of people.''

The economic agency had four candidates to interview that included a good mix of locals and those that had strong connections to Tauranga, Mr Hewlett said.

Project manager Annie Hill said it was important to note job growth was occurring in higher value jobs in high value industries, rather than previously when population growth drove economic growth.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said there were work opportunities in Tauranga for professionals as well as in the trades.

"However, if you are looking for a change of career or direction, or if you are an older worker, then Tauranga is going to be more challenging to find work - as there is a lot of competition out there right now."

"In these circumstances, we are seeing more people looking to start their own businesses."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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