Workers face a year of "slim pickings" in 2014 despite an increase in jobs and a rise in average earnings, a report has predicted.A study by The Jobs Economist consultancy forecast that employment in the private sector will grow by 450,000 next year, more than offsetting an expected fall of 130,000 in the public sector
Unemployment is forecast to fall to 2.3 million, or 7%, the figure which could spark a rise in interest rates.
Average earnings are expected to increase by 2.4%, slightly more than CPI inflation, but the rise in real pay will be too small to have a perceptible impact on the financial well-being of most workers, said the report.
Dr John Philpott, director of The Jobs Economist, said: "This time last year we correctly forecast that 2013 would be a year of 'hard slog' for UK workers, with longer hours for no extra real reward.
"For the majority of workers 2014 is unlikely to feel much better, the pickings improved but still very slim.
"However, a faster growing economy with more jobs, increased vacancies and lower unemployment should enable individuals with sought-after skills or abilities to command pay rises well above the average.
"The economy won't experience any serious wage inflation in 2014 but workplaces will see the emergence of even greater wage inequality.
"For the first time since the start of the recession, employers will find it hard to both compete for talent and keep the majority of workers content with their lot."