There is an urgent push for more healthcare workers in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes to help in the fight against Covid-19.
But the health sector is not the only Bay of Plenty industry wanting more workers despite
a nationwide lockdown and economic downturn.
Yesterday the Government declared a state of emergency, handing emergency powers to authorities to enforce the lockdown from midnight.
For the next four weeks, everyone but essential service staff must stay home except for doing supply runs and solitary exercise.
Despite of a wave of redundancies and business closures, recruiters say there are still new jobs being advertised and hope for the job market visible through the Covid-19 gloom.
New listings on job classifieds sites Seek and TradeMe Jobs indicate roles connected to essential services are the best bet for job hunters.
Seek was advertising 864 listings in the Bay of Plenty yesterday and TradeMe had 1097. Some older listings noted recruitment was on hold.
A Seek spokeswoman said 135 Bay jobs had been posted in the past week, including positions for shelf stockers, a pharmacy manager, a supermarket baker and retirement village assistants tasked with helping to "keep our residents safe from Covid-19".
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Within the last month, Seek categories with the most listings lined up with essential services.
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Healthcare and medical had 78; retail 40 (driven by supermarkets); warehousing, storage and distribution 23; and horticulture 18 - most for the kiwifruit harvest labour shortage.
Yesterday the Bay of Plenty District Health Board posted a Covid-19 recruitment listing seeking registered nurses, enrolled nurses, midwives, and health care assistant - ideally with hospital experience.
The listing included fixed and casual positions for at least the next two months, and promised a fast-tracked and easy application process.
"We are working on filling these roles as quickly as possible.
"Together we can reduce the impact of Covid-19 on our families and communities."
Former nurses were also being called up.
A Lakes District Health Board spokeswoman told NZME the organisation wanted to talk to experienced nurses who may not have a current practicing certificate but would be prepared to "again take up a nursing role". Health care assistant roles were available, too.
Nigel Tutt, chief executive of economic development agency Priority One, said horticulture and healthcare were areas that were "always short of staff" in the Bay.
"Hopefully Kiwis who have perhaps fallen on hard times will find it easier now to get into those areas."
The rise in listings related to food supply was likely the result of panic buying.
Tutt said he expected a hiring boost in the Bay after the Level 4 alert period was over.
"The Government has done a really good job of putting together a package that can help these businesses get through these four weeks.
"New Zealand will be in a good position compared to the rest of the world."
Recruitment experts NZME spoke to yesterday noted the essential services trend and also saw what Rotorua-based Talent ID director Kellie Hamlett termed a "glimmer of positivity".
She expected the market would become "really bouyant really quickly" once the Covid-19 danger had passed.
It was hard to see what would happen in the shorter term, with most companies still bedding into the lockdown.
Recruitment for a lot of roles had been put on hold as it was not always practical to recruit while working at home.
She expected to see more CVs coming in next week from displaced workers.
AWF marketing manager Liz Meleisea said since the lockdown was announced on Monday the blue-collar recruitment company had seen "an uplift from employers looking to scale up quickly - especially for those supplying in-demand consumer goods.
"We expect, as we settle into a new normal and provided panic-buying settles down, that this demand will level out."
She said the employment landscape in some sectors would be "permanently changed by the times we are facing now" leaving workers needing to retrain and upskill.
Both Meleisea and Hamlett said it had been good to see employers doing their best to keep staff employed wherever possible, and talking of rehiring after the lockdown.
Supermarket adds 16 jobs in a week
A mad rush of panic buying has seen a Bay supermarket hire 16 new people in a week.
FreshChoice Papamoa co-owner Alex Barclay said the store had to fill the roles of a few team members who could not work but also hired extra staff to keep shelves stocked and service a 10-fold increase in home deliveries.
"We have gone from three or four deliveries a day to 40."
The supermarket took on six workers from nearby Pure Cafe, which had to close temporarily.
The cafe staff had rushed to help after seeing the supermarket struggling one day, and wound up being offered lockdown work sanitising trollies, running errands and managing the flow of people coming into the store.
Barclay said she'd had more than 100 job applications or discussions about positions this week, including from people who had lost their jobs and others who just saw the "frantic" situation and offered their time.
Panic buyers had "created a wee bit of havoc" with stocks of some items disappearing as soon as they went out.
In general, the community and customers had been great, and workers were happy to have job stability in spite of the busy days, Barclay said.
Covid-19 in New Zealand
- 205 cases
- 50 new yesterday
- 22 recovered
- 6 in NZ hospitals
- 1 case in Rotorua
- 2 cases in the Bay of Plenty
- 9780 tests
Source: Ministry of Health