Good news: advertised salaries are finally growing, with pay rising in every UK region apart from London.
According to a report from jobs website Adzuna, the average salary is up 0.9% on last July, at an average of £33,873. And there's less competition for these jobs, with only 1.14 jobseekers per vacancy.
Wages in Wales rocketed, rising 18.7% since July 2013, meaning that the average wage here is pushing £30,000 for the first time in two years. The North East, West Midlands and Yorkshire also showed high wage growth.
In terms of sector, manufacturing has seen a big boom. Wages are up 15.9% from July 2013 to £29,507 – a two-year high for the industry – and the number of job openings has almost doubled in the past year to 15,912.
"Whilst the UK has somewhat lost its mantle as the Workshop of the World, there is no denying that manufacturing in the UK is finding its feet once more as the bedrock of the British economy," says Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna.
However, there are certain sectors in which earnings are falling. The worst-hit is the legal profession, in which average pay has dropped by 10.5%. The average salary in retail has fallen by 8.5%, and in the energy sector by £8.3%. And, Hunter points out, "There is still a way to go. Advertised salaries have fallen by £1,054 in real terms over the last year."
Not all of us can shift to a manufacturing job in the North. So what are the best tips for negotiating a pay rise?
Pick the right time
If your company's big enough to have an HR department, it will also have a mechanism for awarding pay rises - maybe on the anniversary of your joining the company, or towards the end of the financial year. Otherwise, you'll need to approach your boss, which means picking your moment carefully. Try and time your request for a period where you've been particularly successful and when you know your boss isn't too stressed.
Make sure you know the going rate for what you do - looking at jobs websites can help. Point out just what you're doing for the company, and in particular the way in which you're contributing to the bottom line. Don't be greedy, and don't get emotional. In particular, don't threaten to leave if you don't get your own way - your boss may just call your bluff.
Ask for better benefits
If more money isn't an option, it's worth looking for an alternative way you can improve your situation. A company car, travel loans, or a performance-related bonus may be easier for your employer to provide.
Take rejection gracefully
If you're turned down and throw a tantrum, it won't stand you in very good stead for the future. If you don't get the pay rise you're after, the best policy is to accept the fact gracefully - and ask when it might be worth trying again. Are there certain skills you need to acquire first?
Read more about pay rates on AOL Money:
Q&A: why are wages rising slowly?
Ten well-paid jobs that are open to all
Seven tips for securing a pay rise