The head of an aged-care provider says that yesterday's government decision to raise aged-care workers' salaries will help to modernise the workforce.
Nurse Maude chief executive Jim McGee says as Kiwis get older, the need for skilled workers will increase.
"Just like the general population is aging, so too is the workforce," Mr McGee said.
"We need to be able to attract young people in and keep them and offer them a career pathway.
"We really couldn't afford to pay more ... if we could have we would have been in the past."
Nurse Maude employs 500 support workers to go into people's homes and help about 14,000 people with day-to-day tasks.
The aged-care industry is dominated by female workers and was among the worst-paid in New Zealand, which yesterday led the government to announce a $2b pay equity package.
Bill English revealed the details, saying the government had agreed "in principal" to support the move.
"Cabinet today agreed to a $2 billion pay equity package to be delivered over the next five years to 55,000 care and support workers employed across the aged and residential care sector," he said.
There are about 55,000 care and support workers across the aged care, home care and support and community residential sectors.