Tauranga employers are giving pay rises to stop top performers from leaving in an increasingly competitive job market.

The trend has emerged with managing director of 1st Call Recruitment Phill van Syp saying at least four job seekers had received counter-pay offers from their current employers in the past six weeks - something he had not heard of in the past three years.

The more competitive market was pushing employers into a corner and they were now willing, and more able, to pay to keep good staff, he told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.

Personnel Resources/Temp Resources managing director Ian Chitty said large commercial projects due to start across the city would increase the likelihood of counter-offers being made in the construction industry.


Qualified tradespeople and infrastructure engineers were in demand, leading to raised income levels for qualified staff, he said.

Increased demand for staff in aged care was also improving pay rates.

Workers were now generally receiving cost-of-living pay rises and some employers were offering one-off performance incentives to retain good staff, he said.

The Right Staff owner Claudia Nelson said there was an increased risk of candidates receiving counter-offers to stay in their roles.

Two years ago, such offers were only being made to key staff, deemed difficult to replace, she said.

"Now it will be a general thing."

Mrs Nelson said pay rises were making a comeback and she advised people who were unhappy to approach their current employer first before looking elsewhere.

"Pay reviews happen. It's not a categorical 'no' any more," she said. In the hope of retaining employees, companies were also contacting her agency to ensure they were paying fair market rates.

Right Click Employment Solutions managing director Paula Baker said while counter-offers might be on the rise, research showed staff who accepted them remained in their role only six months before other factors, including job dissatisfaction, prompted them to look elsewhere again.

The job market in Tauranga was picking up, she said. "People are getting pay rises and definitely incentive-based pay is creeping back in there."

This week 357 jobs were advertised on Trade Me in Tauranga and 36 in the Western Bay.

That was similar to mid-November last year, when there were 351 in Tauranga and 20 in the Western Bay.

There were 212 jobs advertised on Seek this week in Tauranga, compared with 236 in November last year.

While June and July were traditionally quieter months in recruitment, Mr van Syp said vacancies for general labourers were "definitely pumping" and the company could not get enough trade engineers, including welders.

He recently had four men walk into the Hewletts Rd office and all were employed before they left.

Mrs Nelson said while things had quietened in the past four to six weeks, the months since September had been busy.

She expected demand for intermediate to senior IT specialists to increase as companies put more emphasis on maintenance and upgrades in technology.

However, there were still more applicants than there were roles and people were still facing redundancy, she said.

Trade Me statistics showed the number of roles advertised in Tauranga during the first quarter of the year was 27 per cent up on the corresponding period last year.