By Cyril Tuohy
Looking to boost its ambitious goals for recruiting financial advisors, Northwestern Mutual said it would specifically target military veterans by increasing the company’s presence at career fairs and beefing up its online resources.
Drawing from the pool of former soldiers is part of the company’s broader efforts at hiring more than 5,500 financial professionals in 2013.
“Former soldiers are finding their skills highly transferable to careers as financial representatives,” said Steve Mannebach, vice president for field growth and development at Northwestern Mutual. “And given their strong leadership qualities, discipline, motivation and desire to help others, we have seen that military veterans are exceptional candidates.”
Financial companies have long valued veterans for their leadership qualities and their discipline. Thousands of former veterans routinely join the corporate ranks each year.
“The independence, flexibility and opportunity to really take control of your career are tremendous motivating factors to becoming a successful financial representative,” Mark Perrault, a U.S. Air Force veteran and Northwestern Mutual financial representative from Colorado Springs, Colo., said in a news release.
Northwestern will have a fresh pool of military candidates to choose from as the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is scheduled to drop to 34,000 by February 2014, from more than 60,000 there in July. All troops are slated to be out of that country by the end of next year.
As many as three out of four newly recruited financial representatives will be professionals – like soldiers – seeking a career change, the company said. In addition, military veterans often have higher-than-average rates of unemployment compared with the national average, which stood at 7.2 percent in August.
Unemployment for the generation of soldiers that went to war following Sept. 11, 2001, reached 10 percent last month, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Northwestern Mutual distributes its products and services through an exclusive agency system and is particularly sensitive to the “fit” of new financial professionals within its sales force spread out around the country.
In an interview with InsuranceNewsNet earlier this year, Mannebach called Northwestern’s distribution model the “secret sauce” in the company’s long-term growth.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer based in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. He can be reached at [email protected].
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