Anyone who works in FMCG knows what a fantastic industry it is. The diversity of jobs, myriad points of entry, the great opportunities for promotion and to switch roles, the heights that are possible with the right skills and attitude. The list goes on. And then there are the people: passionate, dedicated, demanding, fun – but always with one goal top of mind: to find the best possible products for consumers.
Highlighting these and the many other attributes was the aim behind the Food and Grocery Council’s careers expo, ‘FMCG Futures – for Fast Moving Careers’, at Auckland University, where the target was graduates. It was about showcasing the options to become the industry of choice for people leaving university, and was a partnership with the university, Progressive and Foodstuffs.
Its success was immediately obvious when more than 1000 students flooded in to sample products and talk to companies about possible careers and how to join the industry. And within weeks the expo was showing tangible results, with at least two companies taking on graduates as a direct result of contacts made.
FGC interviewed a sample of company leaders at the expo to capture their pearls of wisdom, and we have just published three videos. If you haven’t seen them, they’re available on FGC’s YouTube channel. Here’s a sample of what’s in them:
Why it’s great to work in FMCG
Sharna Heinjus, Kimberly-Clark NZ: “I like to think of a typical career now in FMCG as it doesn’t really exist. It’s often like snakes and ladders – you can move up, you can move sideways.”
Shane Webby, Twin Agencies: “FMCG is a massive industry and there are so many types of opportunities that exist within it.”
Miles Vesty, Goodman Fielder: “We have the ability to offer graduates the ability to take products from cradle to grave – from an idea of concept, right through to development, product launch, marketing, right through their whole life cycle.”
James Kane, Mondelez NZ: “One of the most exciting parts of the industry is the breadth of role types that exist. There are lots of customer-facing roles such as sales and marketing, but there are supporting functions like HR and finance, and specialist functions like supply chain as well.”
What makes an FMCG superstar
Jenny Jones, Tribe Group: “Someone who likes to work with pace, and a little bit of ambiguity and creativity will really enjoy this industry. It’s a fast-moving, ever-changing, dynamic, innovative industry.”
Janine Baldwin, Asaleo Care: “When we’re looking at people who apply for these roles we’re looking for someone who is passionate, displays a lot of energy, a lot of drive in wanting to get and go and make things happen, because this industry is fast.”
Scott Johnson, Frucor Beverages: “There has to be that fantastic value fit … and after that, yes, you’ve got to come with some talent, but first and foremost you’ve got to have that value fit.”
Andrew Alexander, Fonterra: “People are now more prepared to be a little disruptive and transformative in the marketplace, which is something through our new product development and the innovative solutions that we’re taking to market really do support.”
John Cooper, IRI NZ: “We’re looking for people with a technology and a commercial understanding. They need to understand business and they also need to understand how technology operates.”
How to get into FMCG
Brendan Lawry, Foodstuffs North Island: “You could come into Foodstuffs through being a trolley boy or girl, part-time job in high school; from being a supplier; through a grad programme; by getting on to our ownership programme having been in retail, or just a desire to be in retail.”
Kelly Smith, Bizadvisor: “Be prepared to start at a level that gives the opportunity to learn more about our industry – a customer-facing or a consumer-facing role. Be prepared to get out there and get your hands a little bit dirty to understand the industry before you can expect to go into those more glamourous marketing roles or management roles.”