Employers are struggling to fill vacancies after a 20 per cent rise in Western Bay job ads.
Trade Me had more than 1300 job listings on its website in the year's second quarter, compared to 1100 in the first three months of 2013.
Sectors including trades and services, retail, manufacturing, engineering and hospitality recorded lifts in job vacancies of up to 56 per cent. But some local businesses say confidence in the Tauranga economy remains low.
The figures brought mixed reactions from employers.
Everwood Furniture owner Richard Parkinson told the Bay of Plenty Times he was flat out and had hired a new staff member but other firms were struggling: "Some are going gangbusters like us and some are struggling, it certainly appears to be patchy out there, to say the least. I guess us hiring indicates we are busy ... however, I know two people in the local manufacturing business who are remarkably quiet."
The trades were the hardest hit when it came to recruiting quality staff.
Tauranga Plumbing managing director Craig McCord said quality tradespeople had "disappeared".
"The recession meant some guys got laid off, some left the country and the odd one went to Christchurch ... quite a few have left the industry. If you combine that with a lack of apprentice training over last five to six years and considering the average age of a plumber is 57 ... it's a real worry."
Mr McCord, Bay of Plenty/Coromandel Master Plumbers Association president, tried to hire recently and was concerned at the response. "Last year we advertised on all the usual sites for plumbers and trade assistants and had 72 replies for two positions. I did exactly the same thing last month and got one reply from South Africa and he wasn't even qualified."
Trade Me Jobs head Ginny Ryder said advertised roles for builders and carpenters across the country were up 119 per cent on a year ago. Roles advertised in the construction and architecture sector had swelled and this was also happening in the Bay of Plenty.
Insight Architecture architectural designer Richard Hale said he was looking for two staff but it was proving difficult.
"There has not been a call for staff for about three of four years, so they have done the training but haven't got jobs and gone on to do other stuff or left for overseas. The influx of professionals and tradespeople in Tauranga is nil at the moment."
Insight Architecture had a lot more work coming up but Mr Hale said confidence was low. "I think it is because of council, it has a strangle-hold on development in Tauranga."
Mount Maunganui builder Dave Shaw said he did not think it was any busier for builders "so everyone has been pretty cautious on employing people right now".
The average Bay salary listed on Trade Me was $51,319. Last night it had 525 jobs listed in the Bay and 329 in Tauranga. The Seek site had 226 Tauranga jobs.
Increases in job vacancies across the Western Bay
Trades/services up 39 per cent
Retail up 41 per cent
Manufacturing up 56 per cent
Engineering up 38 per cent
Hospitality up 19 per cent
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