Pay awards have started to increase after five years of low settlements, according to a study.
A survey of 70 recent deals shows that the first ones arranged in 2014 were worth a median of 2.5%, up from 2% at the end of 2013.
Pay specialists XpertHR said the range of settlements had increased compared with last year, with the middle half of agreements falling between 2% and 2.8%.
Median deals across the economy in 2013 were worth 2%, the fifth consecutive year of low pay awards, the report stated.
Unions have been pressing for bigger wage increases to keep up with inflation, currently 2.7% on the RPI measure and 2% for CPI.
XpertHR Pay and Benefits editor Sheila Attwood said: "Pay awards ended 2013 on a subdued note, but there are encouraging signs from the first of the 2014 pay deals that have been concluded.
"The 2.5% median pay award in January 2014 is the highest level for almost two years, but it is too early to say whether this pick-up in pay awards will strengthen further."
TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: "It's great that the longest real wage squeeze in over a century could finally end this year.
"Working people have borne the brunt of recession and stagnation so government and employers have a duty to ensure that they receive a fair share of the benefits of recovery, through decent wages for all."
© 2014 Press Association