Hawke's Bay job ads in April were up 27 per cent on last year according to the latest ANZ job survey.
It follows continued double-digit growth for more than a year in Hawke's Bay, but industry commentators say wage inflation was not yet a problem for employers.
Kelly Services Hawke's Bay manager Caroline Kermode said increased vacancies were across the board but the largest demand spikes were in the manufacturing, trades, retail and sales sectors.
"Within manufacturing around one third of the positions being advertised are for machine operators, while trade roles are largely focused in the automotive industry," she said.
"Demand for retail roles is primarily in store management and the sales sector is looking for on-the-road sales representatives and account managers."
She said data from the recently Kelly Australia and New Zealand Salary Guide showed no significant trend in wage increases other than the April 1 minimum wage increase.
"That said, machine operators do tend to receive a good base rate which is then aided with overtime, meal and shift allowances. These roles are still mostly below the Living Wage which is currently at $20.20 per hour. "
She said trade, retail management and sales positions were generally well paid "but again there is no evidence of base-rate increases, however performance-based payments are definitely on the increase".
A branch manager for an international employment agency, who declined to be named, said there was a ready pool of people for seasonal work and the only wage increases noted was in some pack houses.
"We are always trying to push our rates up to what we should be paying people, but businesses don't want to budge," the manager said.
It resulted in trained staff leaving "and they'll just run short for a time until they get someone else".
The number of permanent jobs was increasing but more were needed.
"I have some excellent staff who should be in work but they are not."
The strongest need was for seasonal fork hoist operators.
Drivetrain driving school managing director Gary May said fork-hoist operators were in strong demand, along with class 5 truck drivers, but employers sought experience.
"It is pretty hard for brand new fork-hoist drivers to walk straight into some of those jobs," he said.
Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce CEO Wayne Walford said regional job growth was positive but on a visit to Queenstown he witnessed worker exploitation.
"Good people are our main resource for making sure our productivity grows, so we need to be careful," he said.
"Maybe it is time to reflect on loyalty and pay appropriately after performance reviews."
The job survey showed the regions outstripping main centres led by Nelson/Tasman/Marlbourogh on 42 per cent growth year-on-year in April. The national increase was 18.2 per cent.