Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., based in Milwaukee, Wis., said it will hire 2,400 commissioned salespeople this year, the most since it was founded in 1857.
The reps will sell risk products and investment solutions, including life insurance, disability insurance and long-term care insurance, to individuals and businesses. The company is increasing the size of its contract sales force to 9,400 to meet increased demand for its products, said Steven Mannebach, the company's vice president of field growth and development. The hires will be made throughout the company's 300 offices nationwide.
Northwestern Mutual expects that more than half of the new reps will be career changers who felt they reached a ceiling in their previous job, said Mannebach.
"In the past, we've hired attorneys, CPAs, MBAs, and other professionals in the financial arena," he said. "Career changers have typically made up about 35% of our recruits and we expect to see that number jump much higher."
The available jobs are commission-only positions. Representatives are given access to benefits packages, including medical, life and disability insurance, as well as retirement benefits if they pay their own premiums. First-year representatives average $45,000 a year from commissions, with the potential to earn more, said Mannebach. Those who have been representatives for five years average $109,000 from commissions, with the potential to earn more, he said.
"The timing is just right," Mannenbach said. "Many job seekers are looking for a financially stable company to work for. The average length of our client relationships is 40 years, since we build those relationships before our clients build wealth and we continue to work with them for the long-term."
Last year Northwestern Mutual was named the "World's Most Admired" life insurance company by Fortune magazine and one of the "50 Best Companies to Sell For" by Selling Power magazine.
Northwestern Mutual currently employs about 7,000 financial representatives. The company employs about 5,000 salaried employees at its headquarters in Milwaukee.
Write to Damian Ghigliotty at Damian.Ghigliotty@dowjones.com