27/12/2013 02:58 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Workers To Have 'Very Slim Pickings' in 2014 - Report

Matt Cardy via Getty Images
BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 18: People pass a vacancy signs in the window of a recruitment job shop on March 18 2009 in Bristol, England. Official figures published today show that UK unemployment has risen above two million for the first time since 1997 - and according to the TUC, there are now 10 jobseekers for every vacancy advertised in UK jobcentres, with many economists predicting it will go above three million mark next year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Workers face a year of "slim pickings" in 2014 despite an increase in jobs and a rise in average earnings, according to a new report.

Average earnings will increase by 2.4%, slightly more than CPI inflation, according to a study by The Jobs Economist consultancy. However, the rise in real pay will be too small to have any perceptible impact on most workers' financial well-being.

The study predicted 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.

This comes as a report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research suggested that the UK would overtake Germany and France to become Europe's largest economy by 2030.

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."