Fewer firms are freezing the pay of their workers, although median increases have remained at 2% in recent months, according to a new study.
Settlements in the quarter to July were unchanged from the three months to April, 0.5% below the latest RPI inflation figure of 2.5%, said pay specialists XpertHR.
Its research among almost 100 deals found that less than one in 10 resulted in a pay freeze, while one in four were worth at least 2.8%.
Companies in manufacturing and production paid a median rise of 2.7%, the highest level for a year.
Over the past year the median pay award in the private sector was worth 2.1%, compared with 1% among public sector organisations.
Sheila Attwood, of XpertHR, said: "It is encouraging to see some higher pay awards being made, and few employers making pay freezes. As attention starts to turn to the new year wage round, we are hopeful that we will see an upturn in settlement levels during 2015."
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "It is good to see some signs of better pay awards for some in the private sector, but public sector workers continue to suffer from cuts to their living standards and millions are still excluded from economic recovery.
"The bigger economic problem remains. The UK has become an economy good at creating poorly paid, low-productivity, insecure jobs but this is no basis for a successful economy for the long term."