Only one in four workers have had a pay rise this year, with most seeing their wages frozen, research revealed today.
A study of more than 2,000 employees also found that one in 20 had suffered a pay cut in the past six months, with workers in the public sector being hit hardest.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said its survey showed that almost four out of five public sector workers had not received a pay rise this year, compared with half of employees in private firms.
Workers who have received a pay rise have seen wages rise by an average of 3%.
The institute's performance and reward adviser Charles Cotton said: "Even those who are lucky enough to get an increase in their pay will find it below the current cost of living, compounding consumer belt-tightening.
"Inflation figures later this month will highlight growing pricing pressures, which is likely to continue for some time."