Rugby championship: A unique college recruitment solution

Posted January 20, 2017 by


If you think rugby has nothing to do with recruitment, think again. A Rugby championship was the unique solution to a recruitment challenge that Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company encountered. Jessica Choi, Assistant Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity, shared details with College Recruiter.

What challenges was Penn Mutual facing that prompted the unique solution of sponsoring the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship?

LIMRA states that the current average age of a financial adviser is 56 years old.1 From an industry perspective, we needed to find a way to connect with recent graduates and college students in order to get in front of the new generation of financial advisers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 300,000 advisers will be retiring over the next 10 years, which means there will be a 27 percent increase in adviser roles in this space.2 This is a tremendous opportunity for the life insurance industry, and connecting with the rugby community has been a great way for us to engage with college campuses and their students, coaches and administration in a different way. The rugby community is so welcoming and enthusiastic and has been a positive recruiting partner for us in this space.

What does the Collegiate Rugby Championship say about what it’s like to work with Penn Mutual?
The number one response that we get from the participants of the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship and outside rugby events is, “Thank you.” Because of our true support of the game and through our partnership with United World Sports, we have been able to make an impact on the growth of rugby in the United States. Rugby continues to grow and we are optimistic that we can provide career opportunities for ruggers, whether they are students, new graduates or alumni.

What changes has the company seen since starting its rugby sponsorship, in terms of hiring trends?

We have changed from recruiting talent to attracting talent. We now get more phone calls from talent, asking about the organization more than ever before. I believe it’s because we’ve shifted the model in terms of attracting, not recruiting, talent to Penn Mutual.

In terms of hiring trends, we take on a multi-faceted approach, so we employ other efforts in addition to rugby. Through our omnichannel marketing strategy and increased social media presence, we feel as though anyone who is engaged with us knows that we are growing.

Why are relationships important at Penn Mutual, and how does the company live that value?

Focusing on relationships is one of our core values at Penn Mutual. We live and breathe our values every day. My fellow colleagues live their passion and everyone is truly passionate about our purpose to empower our clients to live life with confidence. We’ve all been able to learn about the impact life insurance makes on people’s lives and we utilize different techniques to keep the company moving forward in innovative ways. We truly live the company’s values and feel a sense of belonging at the company.

What are Penn Mutual’s overall college recruitment strategies? 

Our talent acquisition and diversity strategy is to educate, elevate and engage.

  • Educate – From a communications and branding perspective, we need to share our stories and voices to those who may not know us. We’ve connected our brand to the sport of rugby through various sponsorship opportunities, and it has been instrumental in allowing us to reach audiences that we haven’t been able to get in front of before. With our rugby strategy, we’ve been able to reach the millennial audience more widely, and have been able to educate others about our story, which is essential to our successful recruitment efforts.
  • Elevate – As Penn Mutual evolves talent overall, we cannot rely solely on sharing our story; we must also elevate the company by challenging our own thinking on how we do things when it comes to our recruiting networks, training programs, etc.
  • Engage – Tapping into communities that haven’t previously been exposed to us is a critical component of our recruitment strategy. We strongly believe that our workforce needs to mirror our population. Industry data from LIMRA shows that only 22 percent of advisers are female.3 Women are a huge market to tap into, in addition to multicultural/ethnic populations, veterans, LGBT and millennials.

1 Facing up to an aging producer workforce. (n.d.), from 

2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Personal Financial Advisors, on the Internet at

3 Eggers, P. (2013). Untapped Potential: What’s Wrong and What’s Right for Women in Today’s Financial Services Industry. LIMRA.


Jessica ChoiAbout Jessica Choi

As AVP of Talent Acquisition and Diversity, Jessica is responsible for developing best practices for talent benchmarking, talent assessment, and interviewing effectiveness for the Career Agency System at Penn Mutual. She is focused on supporting Penn Mutual’s efforts on recruiting a talented workforce and identifying candidates with passion and strong goals who can envision themselves growing and shaping their career at Penn Mutual.


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