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 benefits 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 Rotorua in May on Trade Me.
Trade Me jobs spokesman Jeremy Wade said a lot of employers were taking a 'wait and see' approach. Listings fell 32 per cent in the same month 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 had 170 applicants 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 usually attract 100 applicants.
Food processing was going "great guns at the moment" and roading - which could include anything from traffic control to office roles - would continue to grow.
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."
Aotea Electric Rotorua managing director Adam Harlick said he had a "minimal" response to his advertisement for an electrician.
"The only ones that do apply are ones that are ones from overseas that want to be an electrician ... or others who aren't that good or apprentices that have been let go."
"The calibre just isn't there."
Harlick said he thought "some people would have been looking for jobs".
Te Ngae Panelbeaters owner Karen Lock said they have been looking for a qualified panel beater since Christmas and the response was dismal.
No one had replied even though she thought the job may attract someone who wanted to move to Rotorua.
Foodstuffs New Zealand head of corporate affairs Antoinette Laird said it had employed 202 new people in the Bay of Plenty at New World and Pak'n Save stores since March 20, and 800 nationwide.
Some came from the tourism and hospitality industries.
There were four vacancies in Rotorua and six in Tauranga for roles including butchery, checkout and grocery, she said.
"Our teams are always looking for new employees who are enthusiastic about helping us achieve our mission of ensuring New Zealanders get more out of life."
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said it was not all negative and "we continue to be positively surprised that the fall off of jobs and the economy has not been as far or as fast as many had predicted".
"It is still early days and of course everything depends upon how we manage the health side of Covid. There have been a couple of chinks in the armour that have been very concerning in the last couple of days."
But it was good to see the number of job losses seemed to be slowing down.
"We are in a better place than we expected to be."
Heard also hoped the government would use wisely the money it had set aside to soften the blow of Covid and put some into job creation.
That would be critical as people needed permanent jobs, he said.
Ministry for Social Development regional commissioner Mike Bryant said, during April and May, 1529 people in the Bay of Plenty had moved off the benefit and into work which was "pleasing".
There were 320 vacancies listed across the region, he said.
"Rotorua has a number of forestry vacancies and there is also a demand for health and aged care workers across western and central Bay of Plenty.
"We are always keen to work directly with employers to assist our clients into employment and look for opportunities to support both employers and employees 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 it was normal to feel stressed 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 whanau, friends, and community to help support each other through this part of the Covid-19 crisis just as we did in lockdown."
Rotorua's most-viewed jobs
Trade Me figures from May:
- Farm hand, 1974 views
- NZ Post RD4 Rotorua driver, 1901 views
- Merchandiser at Otaika Valley Free Range Eggs, 1729 views.