JUST 45% of UK workers expect a pay rise in the coming year, according to investments and pensions company Legal & General, despite speculation that wage growth might finally outstrip inflation when the latest official figures are released on Wednesday.

An L&G survey found that 47% of workers do not expect to receive a salary increase in the coming 12 months.

Just 38% of female workers are confident of a pay boost in the next year compared to 52% of men.

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The figures show pressure on wages remains despite speculation that figures to be released this week will show 1.8% annual growth in weekly earnings in the three months to the end of February. Consumer prices index inflation in February was 1.7%.

Workers have suffered falling real wages since 2008.

The fragile nature of the jobs market is also illustrated by separate figures published by the Trades Union Congress showing that self-employment accounts for 44% of the net rise in employment since mid- 2010.

The group said the number of people setting up their own businesses has fallen.

But more people are registering as self-employed to do work such as selling goods on line or to do odd jobs to make ends meet. TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady, said: "While some choose to be self-employed, many people are forced into it because there is no alternative work."