30/12/2013 06:31 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Businesses Must Improve Workers' Pay, Says CBI Chief John Cridland

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UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 16: Sterling bank notes and coins arranged Wednesday, February 16, 2005. U.K. wage growth rose at the fastest pace in almost three years during the last three months of 2004, adding to concerns about inflationary pressures in Europe's second-biggest economy. (Photo by Des Jenson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Businesses must improve their employees' pay next year after a "prolonged squeeze", Confederation of British Industry boss John Cridland has said.

The business chief said the British economy is beginning to "turn a corner" and that businesspeople have a "spring in their step" compared to last year.

In his new year message, the CBI director general said: "Businesses must support employees in every part of the country to move up the career ladder, while also giving a helping hand to young people taking their first tentative steps into the world of work.

"As the financial situation of many firms begins to turn a corner, one of the biggest challenges facing businesses is to deliver growth that will mean better pay and more opportunities for all their employees after a prolonged squeeze."

Most firms will be increasing the size of their workforce in 2014, the first time since the start of the recession, boosting their graduate intake and the number of apprentices they take on, he said.

"The good news is that wages will pick up in the year ahead as growth beds down and productivity improves.

"But there are still far too many people stuck in minimum wage jobs without routes to progression, and that's a serious challenge that businesses and the Government must address.

"If 2013 was the year that business trust took a hammering on a range of issues from corporate taxation to energy prices, then 2014 must be the year that business leaders take action to rebuild that trust,"