Job prospects in the UK's finance sector are looking strong heading into next year, according to new research.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey asked more than 2,000 British employers whether they intend to hire additional workers or reduce the size of their workforce in the coming economic quarter.

The study found the net employment outlook (NEO) is +10% for the financial sector in the first quarter of 2014.

The NEO is calculated by subtracting those employers who plan to reduce staffing levels from those who plan to hire staff - a positive result indicates that employers plan to hire more workers.

"The outlook for the finance sector remains strong for the first few months of the new year," says Karen De-Merist, Manpower Group sector director for finance and banking.

She added: "Although the outlook is slightly down on last quarter's high, we are still firmly in positive jobs territory.

"Whereas in recent months hiring has been driven by the need for banks to deal with PPI mis-selling claims, now we are seeing a more 'business as usual' view and hiring is being driven by other factors."

The research also revealed the country's jobs market is looking steady as we head into the New Year, with an outlook of +5% - showing that employers across the UK intend to take on staff in the first three months of 2014 as the economic recovery gathers momentum.

But the apparent calm on the surface belies a far more turbulent jobs market below the waterline, according to Manpower.

"Going into 2014, the UK jobs market has the characteristics of a swan: it's making steady, serene progress on the surface but a very different picture emerges beneath the water where it is paddling away furiously," said Mark Cahill, Manpower Group UK managing director.

He added: "Continued pressure on pay, underemployment and a lack of the necessary skills among candidates means it's still an employer's market and employees are yet to feel the effects of the economic recovery in their pockets."

In addition, the survey also showed that the utilities sector continues to show strong signs of hiring (+9%) as it has done throughout the downturn.