Workers have seen a real terms fall in their wages this year, with median pay awards running at a below-inflation 2%, new research has shown.
The trend is set to continue in 2014, with few settlements forecast to be worth more than 3%, pay specialists XpertHR said.
A study of almost 100 agreements in the past three months showed that one in eight involved a wage freeze, with settlements at 1% in the public sector.
The latest RPI inflation rate is 2.6%, and the report said it was predicted to be around 3% next year, with pay awards in the private sector expected to fall between 2% and 3%.
Sheila Attwood of XpertHR said: "The 2% benchmark pay award during 2013 is lower than employers had predicted, but reflects the fragile economic recovery.
"Employees will be hoping that they receive the predicted 2.5% pay award for the coming year."
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady commented: "It's no wonder so few people feel they're benefiting from the recovery when their wages have continued to fall behind the rising cost of living throughout the year.
"It's worrying that Britain's longest real wage squeeze in over a century looks set to continue into next year.
"This is the only way to make the recovery work for the majority, and not just a privileged few."
© 2013 Press Association