Northwestern Mutual has hired 4,100 financial professionals so far this year and is on track to exceed the company’s largest annual recruiting goal in the history of the 156-year-old firm, Northwestern announced Wednesday.

In 2013, Northwestern has hired 1,100 financial representatives, an 8 percent increase over the same time period last year, and 3,000 interns.

In January, the company announced its most aggressive recruiting effort ever as it sought to recruit more than 5,500 financial representatives. Last year, the company set a goal of hiring 5,000 financial professionals, a goal that was the highest at the time and which it surpassed.

“Our aggressive recruiting efforts stand out in today's challenging economy, where other companies are struggling to find the resources to offer more employment,” says Steve Mannebach, vice president of field growth and development at Northwestern Mutual.

Northwestern Mutual says more than half of the new recruits this year will be people changing careers.

Earlier this year, Northwestern Mutual released findings from the company's 2013 Planning and Progress Study showing that 63 percent of Americans believe their overall financial planning needs improvement and 50 percent have no financial plan in place.

“These findings reinforce that Americans need to place a greater emphasis on developing a comprehensive financial plan and work with professionals to help them stay on track for long-term financial security,” says Mannebach. “For a professional with the right background considering a new career, now is good time to look into the world of financial planning.”