Economic recovery or not, there are still a lot of recent college grads who cannot seem to find full-time, career-oriented jobs.
A recent Gallup survey found that fewer young adults have full-time jobs this year compared to the last three years. Only 43.6 percent of people aged 18 to 29 worked full time in June 2013, down from 47 percent in June 2012.
Gallup Chief Economist Dennis Jacobe says employers are being cautious in hiring new employees and, in doing so, are opting for older, more experienced workers. Employers are also hiring more part-time workers in an effort to circumvent pending PPACA requirements. Under the law, employers with 50 or more workers have to provide health insurance for any employee working 30 or more hours a week. Having part-time employees working less than that can exempt companies from this requirement.
As young college grads continue to struggle to find full-time work, the life insurance industry remains in desperate need of an infusion of young talent. Can’t we find a feasible way to get these two groups together?
I remember talking about this problem last year at the Million Dollar Round Table annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., to Don White Jr., CLU, ChFC, AEP. White lamented the fact that the industry has traditionally done a very poor job of advancing life insurance sales as a career and wondered how many recent grads with finance degrees were complaining they couldn’t find a job.
“We hear this all the time,” White said. “Why aren’t we, at every single college campus, promoting this career? I don’t understand it. I just don’t get it.” White’s comments were part of my six-part series last year on threats to the independent distribution channel. The graying producer workforce is a primary threat.
At least it is heartening to see the college grad recruiting efforts of some carriers are still going strong. In a recent alumni e-newsletter I received from the University of Wyoming Alumni Association, I was glad to see an item in there promoting Northwestern Mutual internship opportunities.
Since 1967, Northwestern Mutual has offered college students the opportunity to step into a career in financial services while they are still attending college. Upon completing requirements to obtain the state life and health insurance license and a one-week training course, college financial representatives begin to seek out clients. The interns are provided with weekly mentoring meetings, product and leadership training, and joint work opportunities to attend client meetings with veteran financial advisors. Because of this, Northwestern Mutual’s internship has been voted one of the U.S.’s “Top 10 Internships” every year since 1997 by the Vault Guide to Internships.
“Our goal for every one of our college reps is to provide them with the best professional experience they have had to this point in their lives. That way, they can apply everything they have learned to their future career, whether that is with our company or a different career,” says Jesse Jorgensen, director of development for the Northern Colorado/Southern Wyoming region.
The item in my alumni e-newsletter went on to provide testimonials from former interns who have gone on to successful careers in the insurance and financial services industry, and listed seven Wyoming grads now working full-time for Northwestern Mutual.
One particularly noteworthy individual in my region who took advantage of Northwestern Mutual’s college internship program several years back was Patrick Ireland, who is now thriving as the managing director of Northwestern Mutual’s Broomfield, Colo., branch, 14 years after becoming known as “The Boy in the Window” when he was shot during the Columbine High School shootings in 1999.