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Bigger paychecks may finally be in store

Stagnant wage growth has been a persistent problem during the economic recovery, leading many to wonder when workers will again see bigger paychecks.

But at least employees are getting increasingly optimistic about receiving raises from their bosses, according to a new survey from employment site Glassdoor. It found 45 percent of employees say they expect to receive a pay raise or cost-of-living increase in the next 12 months, marking a six-year high.

While that might be wishful thinking on the part of employees, some evidence shows corporations might indeed be ready to give out raises. Eight out of 10 business owners are optimistic about their company's prospects, while 40 percent plan to give raises, according to a study from PNC Financial Services Group that was released on Thursday.

"We have clearly seen that wages have lagged the recovery, but we also know in a supply-and-demand economy that they can't lag forever," Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor career and workplace expert, told CBS MoneyWatch. Employees "are seeing all this business activity, and that gets their confidence moving."

Employees are also confident about their own prospects, with 48 percent saying they believe they could find a job suited to their current experience and pay level within six months. That percentage matches the six-year high from Glassdoor's U.S. Employment Confidence Survey last quarter.

Still, some negative trends persist as 16 percent of employees report concerns about being laid off in the next six months, up 3 percentage points from last quarter, Glassdoor found.

They may have good reason for that concern: Despite the healthier economy, some businesses are indeed cutting jobs, the survey found. Among employees who reported negative changes at their workplaces, two out of five said workers had been laid off or were told to expect job cuts, a rise of 5 percentage points since last quarter.

"For companies that aren't growing the top line as fast as everybody else, we're going to see them trying to tighten the belt," Rueff said.

While the survey didn't ask its roughly 2,000 respondents about what industries they worked in, companies that are facing technological disruption, industrywide slowdowns or simply their own missteps may be looking to trim back headcount. One such business is retail giant Target (TGT), which last month announced plans to slash several thousand jobs after dealing with a massive data breach that drove some consumers to competitors.

Another issue employees face is a skills gap, given that corporations are more likely to provide training to higher-paid workers as well as to men. About three out of four workers with incomes of more than $100,000 have received on-the-job training in the last year, but that drops to only 58 percent for workers with household incomes of $50,000 to $75,000, and 57 percent for those with less than $50,000 in annual income.

Two-thirds of men said they've received training from their current employer in the last year, but only 57 percent of women say they've received training.

Companies may be training higher-income workers because they're believed to have a greater managerial potential, Rueff said.

He added: "The sad part about this is that the labor force that's making $75,000 or less are the ones that probably need advanced training more than everybody else just to stay in the labor force."