Wages excluding bonuses are rising at an average of only 3.6 percent a year while inflation is at 4.8 percent.
The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, cover the three months to the end of February.
Wages are set to fall further behind inflation as Gordon Brown’s pay limit bites. Public sector pay rises are already rising at only 2.9 percent.
Wages including bonuses are going up at 4.6 percent, but most of these bonuses are going to highly paid managers.
John Philpott, chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said, “This is not a particularly good time to be an employee – unless you are a high-flier working in those parts of private sector services that are able to offer big bonus payments.”