Norwich Union Life, York's biggest private employer, has launched a drive to recruit 100 people.

The insurance firm is seeking support advisers - back office staff who ensure financial advisers receive their commissions swiftly by doing everything from updating databases to answering phones.

The drive comes after a succession of announcements about the loss of job roles through parent company Aviva out-sourcing to Sri Lanka, including 55 finance jobs at York.

But the company has claimed that through a process of redeployment and retraining numbers on the payroll at York had remained steady at about 3,000.

The drive to recruit more support advisers also comes after Norwich Union Life staged the biggest work experience programme for youngsters the city has ever seen last month - with 53 places for 16 York and North Yorkshire secondary schools.

It emphasises a new sense of buoyancy in what was a challenged market. Norwich Union Life announced improved life and pension sales of £2.140 billion for the first three months of this year - £17 million more than last year.

A Norwich Union spokesperson said the support advisers recruitment would not mean that there would be a net increase in employment at York.

"There is a high level of turnover in this area so to keep the number static we have needed to recruit and there may be further recruitment in that area.

"It is one of those areas throughout the industry where people move backward and forward into different roles both within companies and externally."

The advertisement for support advisers offers salaries of between £10,300 and £15,450 with a bonus potential, post training, of up to four per cent.

The company's recruiters are "keen to meet people with plenty of life experience; people who have got the confidence and maturity to offer a really personal and professional service as a support adviser."

The advertisement states: "It's all about service, the ability to communicate well with all different kinds of people, whatever your levels of experience."

Updated: 10:58 Wednesday, July 06, 2005