The next generation of financial professionals (AP Images)

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (Northwestern Mutual) announced yesterday that their recruiting is up 20% in 2012. The company is striving to hit its target recruiting number of more than 5,000 financial professionals, the largest recruiting drive in its 155-year history.

On the heels of dismal jobs numbers released by the Department of Labor for May (the unemployment rate rose to 8.2%) Northwestern Mutual hopes to stymie the hemorrhaging which could very well get worse in the coming month as hordes of students graduate from universities across the country.

“We have a message for the best and the brightest out there, we are in strong growth mode, “said Steven C. Mannenbach, vice president, field growth and development, Northwestern Mutual.

The 5,000 new hires will consist of 2,000 financial representatives and 3,000 financial representative interns. The numbers indicate a belief that there will be a growing need for financial representatives within coming years. Northwestern Mutual believes that people are in the market for financial plans as opposed to financial products and they hope their staffing decisions will leave them well poised to service those needs.

“Individuals and business owners want a financial plan that’s both customized and credible over the long-term, and that’s what we deliver. We hear it from our financial experts, we see it in our research, and we show it in our numbers-people want to avoid being overly vulnerable to the wild swings of the markets; they recognize the need to be more holistic and to manage risk better. They’re lengthening their time horizons and being more realistic about their expectations. Strength, stability, steady growth and rock-solid protection-that’s what people want,” said Mannenbach.