Pilots are driving forklifts to earn a crust while the number of applicants for some jobs has soared by 100 per cent as competition for work heats up.
One recruitment agency says it is also providing emotional support as candidates became "daunted and fragile" with the constant rejections.
Ministry for Social Development figures show Job Seeker benefit numbers in the Bay of Plenty have soared to 18,306 at the end of May compared to 15,447 on March 27.
Trades, services, roading, construction, and healthcare had the most vacancies in Tauranga in May on Trade Me.
But jobs spokesman Jeremy Wade said a lot of employers were taking a "wait and see approach". Listings fell 51 per cent in May, but had started to recover.
The Staffroom director Jill Cachemaille said there was no shortage of candidates in the market looking for work but there were fewer jobs available.
"As expected, climbing out of lockdown, the pendulum is swinging the other way."
The Staffroom was also finding its relationships with candidates had pivoted to also provide emotional support and guidance from the frustration of not being able to secure a job.
"There is so much competition for candidates right now that some people are becoming daunted and fragile from the continuous rejections."
Recently The Staffroom received 170 applications for a marketing position.
"Many of those had the desired criteria requested by our client so anyone wanting to switch careers or try something new would be struggling in this market."
The majority of jobs it advertised post-Covid were for professional services like legal, finance, accounting and property.
Phil Van Syp, from 1st Call Recruitment, said he had three pilots on his books who were driving forklifts and nearly 200 people had applied for an admin job that would have previously attracted half that number.
Food processing was going "great guns at the moment" and roading, which could include anything from traffic control to office roles, would continue to be a growth sector.
Meanwhile, hammer hands and builders were needed in construction and manufacturing firms were also hiring, he said.
"There are some highly skilled people in the market and people are willing to do anything."
Aone Kitchen and Interiors director Nick Chatfield said he has already had a number of applicants for one office and one factory job which included people who had been made redundant because of Covid.
He took over the business in April last year and wants to expand in the future.
But Renovation Company owner Bill Beck said he was disappointed no New Zealanders had applied for its contract builder role.
"I know there is a lot of people out of work but you just don't seem to get them and it's always been the same."
Beck said he had just hired two foreigners on work visas who were from Spain and the United Kingdom but was still looking for builders as business had picked up.
"Our phones are ringing off the hook and all the companies we work with are flat out."
Foodstuffs New Zealand head of corporate affairs Antoinette Laird said it employed about 200 new employees in the Bay of Plenty at New World and Pak'n Save stores since March 20.
Some had come the tourism and hospitality industries.
There were currently four vacancies in Rotorua and six in Tauranga, for a variety of roles including butchery, checkout and grocery, she said.
Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said many businesses were looking at options to get labour support, including outsourcing, casual, fixed-term and full time.
Tourism, hospitality and entertainment businesses had had mixed performances and it was also a risky time for the events industry and their suppliers who were managing contractual risks in case Government restrictions on events were re-introduced, he said.
But the "bumper kiwifruit season will keep lots of people employed and sole traders in work".
"This will boast consumer spending in the main streets and eateries."
Priority One future of work adviser Alex Barrett said it had partnered with Cucumber to create Work Finder, a website that matches local businesses with local talent.
"We launched it in week 3 of level 4 lockdown and are encouraged by the level of business engagement so far."
Ministry of Social Development regional commissioner Mike Bryant said during April and May, 1529 Bay of Plenty beneficiaries gained work, which was "pleasing".
Currently, there were 320 vacancies listed across the region, he said.
"In Tauranga, we're seeing vacancies in the primary sectors with other jobs available in the trades. We are always keen to work directly with employers to assist our clients into employment and look for opportunities to support both employer and employee with their recruitment needs."
Bryant said several councils had recently received job growth funding and it was working closely with them to identify staffing requirements for these packages.
Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand chief executive Shaun Robinson said feeling distressed was normal given the impact of Covid.
"Job insecurity is a very real thing at the moment and loss of income is a major stressor. We all need to look out for our whānau, friends, and community to help support each other through this part of the Covid-19 crisis just as we did in lockdown."
The most viewed jobs in Tauranga in May on Trade Me were for a part-time receptionist (3568 views), honey packing and labelling assistant (2404 views) and an online order processor (2348 views).