Some Rotorua businesses are struggling to fill vacant positions as the number of applicants drops.

The latest Trade Me job figures show new job listings for the first quarter of 2018 are up 15 per cent compared to the same period last year. Nationally the growth was just 0.4 per cent.

But the average number of applications per listing was down 24 per cent from the same time last year.

Angelique Scott, Personnel Resources Rotorua manager, agreed a lot of roles had been cropping up but said she hadn't seen a drop in application numbers.

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"We've still got the applicants coming in. It's becoming a little more of a candidates' market," she said.

"If you have a good background, good CV and good references you would get snapped up quite quickly."

Scott said finding the right applicant sometimes proved a challenge.

"They need the right background and experience but personality goes a long way."

Scott said the company was getting more applicants from out of town.

"At the moment we're getting a huge influx of Aucklanders applying; they are flooding the market," she said.

"We also get a lot of South Africans coming over.

"It's a good marketing tool to sell Rotorua because it's a really awesome place to live with all the lakes and so much to do here and it's so central."

According to the same figures, trades and services was the industry with the most job listings in the last quarter.

Registered Master Builders Association spokesman for Rotorua Bill Clement agreed there were plenty of jobs on offer, but said employers were struggling to get good workers.

"There are plenty of jobs but there's no one there. Everybody is struggling to get good labourers, good consistent people," he said.

"I don't think there has been much encouragement to get school leavers into trades. Everybody has this idea of going to university."

Clement said that was an issue around the country and it had been that way for a while.

"There seems to be plenty of vacancies for experienced people that can walk into the job and get stuck in," he said.

"We also need to encourage more young people to get into trades."

Redwoods Treewalk owner Bruce Thomasen said tourism had never been busier, creating demand in all areas of hospitality. The industry had the second-highest listings in the first quarter.

"Skilled workers are also in demand and there is a lot of competition which is good for the employees. They also get to choose who to work for."

OGO Rotorua has just hired two people from 34 applications for crew member positions.

"The applicants we hired just had really nice CVs, wicked personalities and were genuinely interested in the sector," HR manager Melissa Craig said​.

But the successful applicants also have to move a 100kg OGO ball around as part of the job interview.

"You can tell a lot about somebody from their willingness to try that," Craig said.

"We look for people who have got a natural ability to talk with people from all over the world, are not afraid of hard work and they also have to be able to move a 100kg OGO ball around."

Craig said the year hadn't been noticeably busier or quieter than usual. She said May was usually a quiet period but the rest of the year was busy.

The Restaurant Association Rotorua Branch president Sharon Wallace said traditionally the industry quietened down after March, but not this year.

"I'm stretched to meet the employers' requirements as students have already gained employment and they have the luxury of choosing," she said.

Wallace said she was aware of one hotel looking for food and beverage and housekeeping staff and immigration restrictions had had some impact.

Some other big industries in Rotorua include trades and services, hospitality and tourism, transport and logistics, retail, healthcare, automotive, office and administration, manufacturing and operations, agriculture, and construction and roading.