Businesses on South Island's West Coast facing staff shortages, desperately trying to recruit workers

Businesses on the South Island's West Coast are now desperately trying to recruit workers.

The area is facing a critical labour shortage right across the sectors - with those workers who are there, facing burnout from the strain.

While Rita Costen loves the sparkle of a newly-cleaned window, she is unable to recruit staff. She's spending far too much time at the squeegee end rather than growing her business.

"It's really tough at the moment, I don't know why, it's a really good job that we offer, but we just don't seem to be getting the calibre of staff coming through," the Wash Rite West Coast co-owner says.

It's meant a reduction in potential earnings and a backlog of work to catch up on.

"Extremely frustrating. We want to grow, we want to expand and we can't at the end of the day," Costen says.

"My husband and I have been running the business for four years. He's reaching his 60th birthday this year and he's still the one going up on roofs and doing all the work."

In Greymouth, Olivia Monk's cafe and restaurant Sevenpenny is known for its freshly-baked goods, but she too is struggling to find the staff to keep the ovens going.

"It's so hard, you can be waiting months to fill a gap sometimes from when someone leaves to when your replacement comes through," she says.

It's putting pressure on Monk and her current staff to take on extra shifts.

"It definitely impacts the stress levels, especially at this time of year when it's really busy," Monk says.

"It's hot, people are stressed, tired and it's just not that fun to be working in hospitality when it's like that. 

"We like to make our work environment a fun place to be, but at the moment it's a little bit less fun."

Westland District Mayor Bruce Smith has a solution.

"The first place to start is those Kiwis that are offshore they've got a New Zealand passport," Smith says. "Heaven's sakes, let them come home, they're all skilled. 

"They're plasterers, they're sparkies, they're engineers, they're chefs, they're exactly the sort of people that we need. That'll dump 30,000 into the workforce pretty much straight away."

While others are hoping views like these could help prompt a rush even sooner. 

"Well, come to the Coast, we've got ample opportunities here and we are seeing some people come here for the lifestyle," Development West Coast chief executive Heath Milne told Newshub.

"A third of the average house price in New Zealand and a lot of building going on here too. 

"It's a great place to come, we're just looking for more skilled and unskilled workers to come here."

With a demand that's never been higher. 

Watch the full story above.