A new report on the Hawke's Bay economy says the region faces a worsening skills shortage in the next 20 years due to an ageing population and young people leaving the region.
A labour market mapping report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said primary production has been static and the manufacturing sector has shrunk in the past 10 years.
The report says Hawke's Bay is having difficulties with seasonal labour shortages and skills shortages in some sectors such as engineering and IT.
It says the fastest growing population in Hawke's Bay is Maori and a key to the region's success is developing the talent of young Maori.
Hastings district mayor Lawrence Yule said Hawke's Bay is one of the best places in the world to live and work, but wages have been too low to keep young people in the region.
Mr Yule said he is pulling key stakeholders together to develop a plan to make job prospects for young people brighter.