MILWAUKEE (BUSINESS WIRE), May 27, 2010 - The slow U.S. job market is making it tough for college graduates to find jobs, but new data shows that opportunities are plentiful for entrepreneur career-seekers.

In 2010, Northwestern Mutual – the industry leader in total individual life insurance and disability insurance dividends paid to participating policyowners– plans to recruit more than 2,300 financial representatives and more than 2,500 financial representative interns. And in the first four months of 2010, the company has already received tens of thousands of resumes from recent college graduates seeking to start a financial representative career and from students looking to land a summer job.

“Like never before, this challenging economy has really opened people’s eyes to the advantages of being an entrepreneur instead of an employee,” said Michael VanGrinsven, Northwestern Mutual field recruitment director. “College grads who wondered, ‘where are the jobs?’ are finding that they can create their own careers.”

Business startups reached their highest level in 14 years in 2009*, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. And according to Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute, entrepreneurship is one of America’s fastest-growing career sectors**. VanGrinsven says financial representative entrepreneurs are in-demand because more Americans are seeking financial guidance as the country emerges from its so-called “Great Recession.”

“One of the hottest job prospects in today’s economy is entrepreneurship in financial services, because you can be your own boss while making a major impact on people’s lives,” said VanGrinsven. “The economic downturn helped consumers realize the value of financial security, and now, professionals affiliated with a strong company are desired more than ever.”

Kirtana Patel (photo), Northwestern Mutual’s top-ranked financial representative intern to-date in 2010, says the internship’s structure meets her needs for work/life balance.

“In this career, I’m independent, but by no means am I alone in the woods,” said Patel, a senior at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. “I set my own schedule and run my own practice, but I also get the training and support I need to succeed.”

In 2010, Training magazine named Northwestern Mutual as a leader in training and leadership development. New interns are provided in-depth training courses on the company’s products and services and the latest financial strategies. They’re also provided time to prepare for state insurance licensing exams that are required for all representatives.

Northwestern Mutual’s financial representative career was featured by Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine as a “Best Place to Launch a Career” and a “Best Place to Start an Internship.” And for the fourteenth consecutive year, Northwestern Mutual’s financial representative internship program is one of the top 10, according to the 2010 Vault Guide to Internships within the financial services industry. To learn more about Northwestern Mutual careers, visit: http://www.northwesternmutual.com/career-opportunities.

* “Despite Recession, U.S. Entrepreneurial Activity Rises in 2009 to Highest Rate in 14 Years, Kauffman Study Shows.” Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. May 20, 2010. http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/despite-recession-us-entrepreneurial-activity-rate-rises-in-2009.aspx

** “College job market hits bottom, though some bright spots remain.” Collegiate Employment Research Institute, Michigan State University. Nov 2009. http://www.ceri.msu.edu/press-release.

About Northwestern Mutual

The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 150 years. As a mutual company with over $1 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual seeks to share its gains with policyowners and deliver consistent and dependable value to clients over time. Northwestern Mutual is an industry leader in total individual life insurance and disability insurance dividends paid to participating policyowners. Though dividends are not guaranteed, are reviewed annually and are subject to change, the company has paid life insurance dividends every year since 1872.

Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments.

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For further information, contact:
Jean Towell 1-800-323-7033
mediarelations@northwesternmutual.com