Careers in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)

 

In brief

The FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) industry is dynamic and diverse, and one that offers a wealth of career opportunities. FMCG products cover household items bought in the supermarket and pharmacy on a daily basis.  Additionally, they include plastic goods, stationery, consumer electronics, restaurant and pub foods, beverages, newspapers, magazines and books.

Employers are some of the biggest brand names around the world, with products used and seen by consumers every single day. People always need food, drink and other FMCG items, so the industry will always have jobs to offer. Every week sees the launch of hundreds of new products, and behind these products are teams of people in a wide variety of roles. The industry offers graduates an exciting career in an innovative, constantly evolving arena where you can see the results of your work on shop floors around the world.

The FMCG industry welcomes graduates from any degree background. At any point between manufacture and consumption there will be a multitude of points of contact between suppliers and buyers and, as one of the largest private sector employers in the UK, there are a huge range of graduate FMCG jobs available.

Where can you work?

Many FMCG companies produce a range of products, whereas others focus on a sole product, for example Walkers Crisps.

Some typical FMCG employers are: Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, Mars, Weetabix, Heineken, Coca-Cola, Nestle, L’Oreal and Kleenex. Wander around a supermarket looking at brands and you will find a wealth of potential employers.

What’s changing in the sector?

Recent consolidation of large suppliers/retailers such as Tesco merging with wholesale provider Booker, will bring efficiencies within both industries and change how suppliers communicate with retailers in the future. This could result in more opportunities for talking to independent retailers in 'field roles' and developing relationships with the supermarkets’ head offices.

The growth of e-commerce in both the UK and globally has brought about great change in the FMCG and retail industry. It is expected that by 2025, FMCG will have a market share of 12% in the UK - almost double its current share.

Useful Websites

General research

The Grocer – the key publication for the trade and good source for vacancies.

FMCG news – news, events, blogs etc.

Prospects retail sector – provides a useful overview of the retail sector.

Jobs and employers

CareerHub – jobs board targeting LSE students, including events and networking opportunities.

Careers at Mars – advice on applying for roles within FMCG.

CPM – a field based third party sales agency.

TARGETjobs retail, buying and merchandising – an overview of jobs, training schemes and placements in the sector.

Professional bodies and associations

Institute of Food Science and Technology

British Retail Consortium

Institute of Grocery and Distribution

Useful Information

Routes in

Introduction

The sector offers various entry points. Potential employers will value passion for ‘the product’, relevant experience, and an understanding of the retail market and consumer behaviour.

If you’re looking to gain experience

Any part time work in food service or retail will be valued as it gives you an insight into FMCG and the buying behaviour of shoppers and consumers.

If you’re early on in your career

Large FMCG companies often run graduate schemes with placements that rotate around different parts of the business. This can help you to identify where you fit best. The scheme may be split into commercial or operational, or may be a general scheme across the company.

Most entry level roles are with sales agencies – third party sales organisations that run field sales teams for suppliers. They are specialists in field sales and marketing, and they often have some flexible and part-time opportunities that offer a way in to FMCG sales.

If you have more experience

The industry values transferable skills and there will be opportunities for full time roles within sales agencies, or regional account roles with suppliers. Other opportunities are often in shopper and trade marketing.

If you’re changing career

FMCG is all about fast moving goods and fast moving careers. Roles develop rapidly, and it is possible to change roles and be promoted very quickly. People wishing to change careers should be prepared to first prove ability and then their career will develop.

Not sure what to do next?

We’re here to talk over your career plans with you. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at, so don’t feel you have to have it all worked out. You can book a one-to-one appointment with a careers consultant on CareerHub.

Job roles

Roles are either field based or situated within a head office or manufacturing site. There are a huge range available, so we’ve outlined roles that are often of interest to LSE students with links to where you can find more information. If you can, try to talk to someone who’s doing the job you’re interested in, so you can get a real flavour of what it’s like.

Some of the key roles in an FMCG company are in:

  • Finance –delivers added value to all aspects of the business, offering advice on a range of decisions whilst ensuring the business is under control and run efficiently and effectively. Works with sales and marketing teams analysing category, brand and customer performance; carries out strategic planning and financial forecasting; controls and monitors costs; manages financial accounting and taxation; and takes the lead role in many cross-functional business projects. The TARGETjobs overview of Finance and financial management in FMCG provides further details.
  • Food science and technology–looks to improve existing products and create exciting new ones. Works closely with production managers, engineers, nutritionists and marketing experts. There are also roles within the industry for scientists to research new ways of improving the quality of production methods and product packaging. Check out the Prospects Food technologist job profile.
  • Buying/purchasing–ensures that the supply of basic ingredients is constant. May involve global travel to find the right ingredients at the right price. The TARGETjobs overview of Supply chain in FMCG is a useful resource.
  • Product and Brand development–works closely with manufacturing and marketing to improve existing brands and create new products. Follow the product from concept to production. The TARGETjobs overview of Research and development in FMCG provides further details.
  • Sales/account management–manages relationships with buyers, usually large retailers and wholesalers, to manage buy-in and ensure products are displayed and promoted to company standards. Opportunities for sales personnel start with retailer and foodservice advisers that call on independent retailers and supermarkets, followed by regional account managers, national account managers, and finally sales and managing directors. The Prospects Sales executive job profile and the TARGETjobs overview of Sales and commercial in FMCG provide more information.
  • Marketing–ensures that a company's products are in line with consumer needs. Works closely with product developers and market researchers, advertising or PR agencies and packaging designers. Check out the TARGETjobs overview of Marketing in FMCG.
  • Management–different divisions within any consumer goods company are likely to offer management opportunities, so think about what you want to manage. For more information, access the TARGETjobs overview of Management in FMCG.
  • Human resources–looks after staff and ensures they are treated fairly. Human resources in an FMCG company covers holiday, sickness, learning and development, and recruitment. They will also handle promotions, PDRs and grievances. The TARGETjobs overview of HR and recruitment in FMCG will tell you more.

 

Further roles can be found in IT, Engineering and Quality Assurance, etc. ‘The Grocer’ is the main trade publication and many jobs can be found advertised here. To read online visit: http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/

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