Unemployment in the Bay of Plenty has dropped sharply, bucking the national trend.

The Bay's unemployment rate is now the lowest in the North Island at 4.9 per cent, after dropping one percentage point in the year to December 2016.

Nationally, the rate rose 0.3 percentage points to 5.2 per cent over the same period.

Business and employment experts suggest that not all jobseekers are benefiting, as some job advertisements have prompted a flood of applications from people presumably unable to find work elsewhere.


Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec described a "curious situation" in which there was "an oversupply of certain skill sets and a shortage of others".

Electricians, builders and doctors were in demand, but when the chamber advertised for an events co-ordinator recently, it was "absolutely swamped" with applications.

"It all depends on how unique your skill set and experience is."

Matt Groucott of OneStaff said there was demand for tradespeople, truck drivers, heavy machine operators, civil construction workers and unskilled workers.

However, some people moving to Tauranga from larger cities and from overseas were struggling to find employment in management, sales, finance and administration.

"There can be many reasons for this - salary expectations, limited market in Tauranga for these positions and a lack of movement in existing roles limiting opportunity for anyone new to the area."

The director of Coulter Elite Resourcing, Mark Deaton, said the job market was "certainly booming" and there was strong demand for engineers, including structural, and automotive technicians.

However, a lot of people were applying for jobs and some companies were becoming more selective in who they hired.

Mr Deaton, who mostly deals with professional clients, advised jobseekers to ensure their CVs were well written and tailored to the positions they were applying for.

"For some roles we are receiving over 200 applicants, but we can only offer the job to one person," he said. "It doesn't mean the other 199 aren't good people - just not right for this role or client."

Jill Cachemaille of recruiter Staffroom said she had seen a lot of demand for temps and in the sales, marketing and accounting sectors.

One area that was not so busy was senior executive assistants for high-level managers.

Because of population growth across the nation last year, the numbers increased for both employment and unemployment. Some 29,000 people entered the workforce while an extra 10,000 were recorded as being unemployed.

Mark Gordon of Statistics NZ said the national working-age population rose by half a percentage point during the year.

The main growth sectors for employment nationally were in the retail, accommodation and food service industries.

Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Northland have the highest unemployment rates in the country at 8.1 and 7.3 per cent.

Canterbury has the lowest unemployment of any region at 3.7 per cent, despite a slight annual increase of 0.4 per cent.

Unemployment rates

Bay of Plenty: 4.9 per cent
Bay of Plenty: Down 1 percentage point
New Zealand: 5.2 per cent
New Zealand: Up 0.3 percentage points

Body piercing roles hard to fill

"Professional qualified body piercer" is certainly not an everyday job.

The owner of the Art + Body shop in Mt Maunganui found that out the hard way when her advertisements to fill the role proved fruitless.

The advertisements, posted on websites including Facebook, were a response to customer demand that went beyond shop specialities including body painting and tattooing.

"We had travellers and tourists coming in and asking for piercings," said the owner, Julie Paama-Pengelly. "Obviously in Auckland, there are piercing-dedicated shops and it might be all you do. But it's different here."

There are no nationally-recognised qualifications for body piercing, but it was important to find the right person for the job because there are health and hygiene issues involved with puncturing a person's body.

So Julie Paama-Pengelly arranged piercing training for one of her existing staff members, and was now offering training courses to the wider public.