The insurance market is set to boost staffing levels in 2002, while overall employment prospects in the UK, are expected to take a sharp dive.

Recruitment firm Manpower asked more than 2,000 firms if they expect to increase or decrease staffing levels this year.

The insurance industry said that `net job gains' - calculated by subtracting the percentage of companies expecting to reduce staff numbers from the percentage expecting to take on staff - will be 7% this year.