Qualified tradesmen are in hot demand as the Bay's skills shortage deepens.
Skilled job vacancies in the Bay of Plenty advertised on Seek and Trade Me were up 5.7 per cent year ending August, a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment report found.
Scott Fraser, director of Fraser Engineering in Greerton, has been advertising for a heavy fabrication engineer for two weeks. He said the pool of applicants so far showed one candidate with some promise and many others without the right skills or right attitude.
Mr Fraser said in recent years, there had been fewer apprenticeships available which had shrunk the pool of skilled tradespeople. "There's been an apprenticeship overlap where a lot of people weren't getting through and also a generational overlap. A lot of the older engineering managers felt they had put enough apprentices through and had enough of it.
"I'd say that would have happened about the time I did my time. There's a lack of people in the 25 to 30 age group."
There was also an issue with people doing a one-year course then thinking they could walk straight into an engineering job without putting the hard work in first, Mr Fraser said.
He was looking for someone with five or more years' experience to fill his position plus the relevant qualifications, but said if someone walked in with the right attitude, he would be willing to train them.
Kim Bertelsen, managing director of Alloy Cats in Mount Maunganui, said he had been looking for about six new staff for longer than a year.
"The trouble is, we get applications but it's the quality of the applications. We would like to get experienced guys but we're not attracting them.
" ... we thought why not get some young guys to train but their attitude is terrible. They tend to want to come in and be a boat builder after two weeks."
Mr Bertelsen said when selling expensive boats, he needed to be promising a quality product and needed staff that would put in the effort.
1st Call Recruitment general manager Angela Singleton said the demand for engineers, welders and sheet metal fabricators had almost doubled in the past 15 months.
Dairy veterinarians were also in high demand, as there were few appropriately qualified people in the region, she said.
The lack of trades apprenticeships continued to affect the workforce, she said.
"Gen Y is so focused on ICT and commercial careers, that they forget about the industrial, engineering and trade sectors."
Employers and Manufacturers Association spokesman Gilbert Peterson said recruitment difficulties stemmed from a gap between skills required for jobs and skills actually being developed.
Statistics New Zealand's 2014 business operations survey of 36,000 businesses found 31 per cent were reporting vacancies that were hard to fill, particularly for tradespeople.
The trend had been rising since 2009.