Nearly 7000 people in the Bay of Plenty would like to increase their hours of work or are overqualified for their job, with Rotorua touted as a major hotspot.
Some people in the city were taking jobs well below their skill set and a tough labour market meant there weren't enough jobs to go around, a recruitment agency says.
Stats NZ figures show 6900 people in the Bay of Plenty region were underemployed or underutilised - the fifth-highest rate in the country - to the end of March 2019.
The data also revealed over the same timeframes there were 4600 available job seekers and 7800 people unemployed in the region.
Talent ID recruitment agency director Kellie Hamlett said it was a tight market across all sectors in Rotorua.
"It is hard to employ people into customer service and sales roles where they used to be quite easy to fill."
She said candidates who were representing themselves well were being snapped up quickly and her advice to employers was to have strong workforce planning and to be quick off the mark when it came to offering new roles.
Workers from overseas were also contributing to a large number of those underemployed, she said.
"They are highly skilled and highly qualified but they accept roles that are lower than their capability so they can get here and get working and then move to other roles."
Change of lifestyle was a big reason for the underemployment rate in the city, said Personnel Resources recruitment consultant Ashlyn Clarricoats.
Fijian community 'super chuffed' ahead of team's arrival
'Every day is different' - closing book on 30-year career
National Westpac Chopper Appeal a success
"There are people moving from other regions [to Rotorua] that are looking for a change of lifestyle, by being closer to family or being able to be in the outdoors again.
"But there are a lot of people looking [for jobs]. We are really busy and there are quite a few roles coming in although they are in every industry."
She said it meant there were a lot of people for employers to choose from which was nothing for them to complain about.
"But it depends on the time of the year because sometimes at certain times of the year it becomes busier."
Ministry of Social Development Regional Commissioner Mike Bryant said he currently had five work brokers alongside the case managers, stakeholders and employment co-ordinators in Rotorua helping job seekers with everything from pre-employment training to upskilling opportunities.
"This includes helping someone get their driver licence, writing CVs and cover letters, get practical on-the-job experience, support with transport to and from work, general job searching and interviewing tips and advice.
"We also work with employers and other government agencies, year-round with recruiting, listing vacancies, wage subsidies, helping with work and training costs and other employment programmes and services."
He said in the wider Bay of Plenty region there was a labour market team of just over 20, who in the last financial year, ending June 30, helped 8044 people off the benefit into employment in the region.
"The most common areas which we help people gain jobs in are the hospitality and service industry, manufacturing and processing and trades and labouring."