Tauranga job listings have seen a huge spike in the past three months and businesses are struggling to fill vacancies - with one employer resorting to bringing staff out from the Philippines.

Listings for Tauranga increased 44 per cent in the last quarter when compared with the same quarter in 2015, according to Trade Me Job statistics.

Meanwhile, the average applications received per listing dropped 18.5 per cent.

It was a similar story for the Western Bay of Plenty, where job listings increased 28 per cent compared with the same quarter last year while average applications dropped 18.4 per cent.


As at yesterday afternoon there were 820 job listings in Tauranga on Trade Me - of those 205 were for trades and services. In the Western Bay of Plenty there were 43 listings.

Jeremy Wade, head of Trade Me Jobs, said there were not fewer people applying for roles, rather there were more roles available and a steady number of people applying.

"A 44 per cent growth in job listings in the Tauranga region was clearly one of the highest leaps in the country in the last quarter. This drives the average number of applications received down."

He said because of the increasing number of roles available for job hunters, there would be increased competition between employers.

"Our advice to business owners putting job listings up is to consider ways they can make their job ads stand out, either through an attractive salary package, added job benefits like insurance or retirement plans, or by championing their company culture with a combination of images, video and text."

Tauranga Hardware and Plumbing managing director Craig McCord said people in the plumbing industry now had to use their heads a bit more to fill vacancies in the "wild west" that was the tradie industry.

"Some are doing the less original tactic of poaching plumbers from other businesses but others are thinking outside the square and training their own or bringing new ones in."

He had unsuccessfully advertised plumbing positions for more than 12 months and to fill the spots he had hired several plumbers from the Philippines, who were arriving soon.

"It's my first experience like this but I'm not the first - there are many Filipino workers in tiling, gib stopping, and bricklaying."

Master Plumbing and Gas owner Keri Horton said it was "pretty impossible" to find a qualified plumber and they had been advertising for over a year.

The business even offered to help someone relocate to Tauranga from outside the region or overseas - they had contacted networks in London and Australia.

"If someone was coming out of town we would help with moving, temporary accommodation or whatever ... but even that doesn't seem to net us any results."

Tradestaff's central North Island regional manager Geoff Campbell said since tradespeople "weren't just sitting around waiting for jobs" businesses had to look at other means to bring skilled workers into the area, such as looking offshore or outside the region.

Cherie Hill, a senior consultant at Kinetic Recruitment, said they had been extremely busy.

She said there were lots of jobs and lots of good candidates and often candidates were set up with multiple interviews.

"The jobs aren't just replacing someone who left the position, rather a lot of clients are saying they have created a new position," Ms Hill said.


Stephanie and Quinn Armit have been advertising a plumbing position for several months with no luck.

"We have had minimal applications from local guys and a few from overseas but unfortunately they weren't experienced plumbers," Mrs Armit said.

They had now resorted to putting up a sign on the street outside their business - something they had never had to do before.

"The idea behind it is that it might attract applicants who aren't actively looking, or even thought about looking."

To attract employees the business offered a social team, tool allowance and almost no paperwork.

"We have all our jobs on the latest trade software on smartphones so paperwork is minimal."