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Consumer Goods and FMCG
Why You Should Consider a Career in Consumer Goods
This industry has much to offer graduates in their career ahead.
As one of the most competitive sectors in the global economy, the consumer goods industry calls for a large and varied workforce. Although the sector is incredibly fast-paced, the consumer goods industry is a good platform for graduates to grow on a personal and professional level.
If you’re a graduate in the midst of exploring your options, here are 5 reasons why the consumer goods industry may be the choice for you.
There is a wide selection of roles available within the industry that necessitates different set of skills and expertise. Areas of work in this industry include distribution and logistics, health and safety, food technology and more. Whether you’ve graduated from an engineering, a business or arts and humanities background, there will be job opportunities for you in the consumer goods industry.
Not only can you find a diverse range of working fields in this industry, you can also expect to find individuals from various backgrounds within the company. Major companies in the consumer goods industry tend to be global in nature, with a network of employees from all corners of the world.
Some roles in this industry may require work placements that involves relocation to a foreign country. It is common for you to work alongside international colleagues and you may even find yourself with an opportunity to a work placement abroad!
2. Fast-paced and innovative work environment
Innovation is the name of the game in the consumer goods sector. Companies in this industry need to continually come up with fresh ideas to continue attracting consumers and fulfilling their requirements and needs that are constantly evolving.
Consumer goods businesses cannot afford to stand still if they are to remain competitive in this industry. Everyone in the company are required to play their part to ensure that they are wheeling out new products, improving existing ones and selling to new and existing consumer groups.
There is never a dull moment in this industry.
3. Big names and big brands
This industry is the home to every global brand that is popular across households. Big names like Nestlé, L'Oréal and Coca-Cola are just a few of the many brands that are recognised worldwide. There is a kind of glamour and prestige that is associated with this sector as it is made up of high profile brands.
Landing a job in the industry may allow you to some bragging rights among friends and family, but more importantly, the big names will boost your CV if or when you are looking to explore other career options further down the road.
4. Professional growth and development
The consumer goods industry is a vastly dynamic sphere which offers graduates an excellent platform to grow and develop. Major companies in the industry run graduate training programmes where graduate trainees are placed in commercial (e.g. sales and marketing), operational (e.g. finance and logistics) or technical (e.g. engineering and manufacturing) streams. In some cases, companies offer general schemes that are designed to test graduates’ competencies in different fields so that by the end of the training period, you’ll know which role is the best fit for you.
Companies in this industry are known to invest in its employees. You can benefit from the support and training provided by employers in this sector to learn and grow in ways that will set you up for long-term success.
5. You’ll be making a difference
If you like the idea of making a difference to ordinary people’s lives, a career in the consumer goods industry may be a good choice for you. Can you imagine a life where toothpaste isn’t readily available, or a box of cereals is a rare find in the supermarket? This role that this industry plays is one that permeates our everyday lives and has a direct impact in our lifestyles.
Every person in the world is a consumer, and there will always be a need for affordable and available consumer goods. You will be in the centre of the process that works to satisfy this demand!
Four Ways to Get into the Consumer Goods Industry
Thinking of breaking into the industry? Here’s a breakdown on how you can land a job in the consumer goods sector.
As one of the most attractive sectors to work in, graduate roles in the consumer goods industry are highly sought after. Competition to land a role in this sector can get tough, and would require graduates who are interested in joining the industry to start preparing as early as possible.
To aid you in your preparation, here are some ways you should consider to land a job in the consumer goods sector.
1. Graduate training schemes
If you are looking to start a career in the consumer goods industry, a place on a consumer goods company’s graduate scheme would be a good place to start. To get a place on a graduate scheme is no easy feat, but having language skills, a global outlook and a willingness to relocate could all boost your chances of getting one.
Applications for graduate schemes in Singapore typically open around the months of August to September, but most companies may accept applications all year round. It is important for graduates to research about the application requirements and deadlines in advance.
Aside from application requirements and deadlines, graduates should also consider the following about graduate schemes offered by different consumer goods companies:
Length of the scheme
How long is the scheme overall? Would it consist of a number of different placements?
Are the programmes rotational across different departments? Will you be given a broad overview of how the business works?
Would the scheme require for you to relocate? If so, is relocation feasible for you?
Having a clear idea of what is required of the schemes and what they entail will benefit both you and your prospective in the recruitment process.
2. Internships or work placements
If you worry about not being able to secure a place in graduate training schemes in a consumer goods industry, a way to set yourself apart from other applicants is to gain experience through an internship or a work placement within the industry while you are still a student.
Not only will you gain insights into the company prior to applying for a graduate scheme upon completion of your degree, it also shows your determination to enter this industry. Demonstrating that you have a clear idea of what you will be getting into in this industry and showing resilience in joining the sector are attractive qualities that recruiters look out for.
Most companies in this sector offer work placements and internships for students in their penultimate year of their degree. You can start by paying a visit to your university’s career advisors, who may be able to connect you to the right internship opportunities. Applying for an internship while you are still a student will give you a head start, as they are often used as a recruitment tool.
3. Company competitions and challenges
Consumer goods companies especially FMCG companies, are known for their commitment to innovation and nurturing bright minds. The top players of the sector such as Unilever, Procter and Gamble, Nestlé and L’Oréal run business case competitions and innovation challenges across different countries.
Notable ones include Unilever Future Leaders League, Procter and Gamble CEO Challenge, Nestlé-NUS Innovation Challenge and L’Oréal Brandstorm Challenge. These challenges are typically open to university students of all disciplines whose creativity and analytical skills will be put to the test. Some of these competitions are global, and participants would be competing with students from all over the world.
While the competition to win may be tough, your participation itself can go a long way in showing your prospective recruiters your genuine interest in joining the sector. So, keep an eye out for such challenges while you are still in university and treat them as opportunities to learn!
4. Speculative applications
Afraid of missing the annual graduate recruitment for training schemes? While most companies may have specific intake periods, you can always get in touch with employers in the consumer goods industry on a speculative basis.
New graduate opportunities do come up throughout the year, and if there is a business need to recruit, they will consider taking you in. However, do make sure that you have mastered the art of speculative application before you start contacting prospective employers.
Remember, preparation is key!
Food Technology: Graduate Area of Work
Food technologists are important in the FMCG and consumer goods industry because F&B products must pass safety and quality checks before they reach the shelf.
As of 2016, Singapore is the home to more than 6,500 food and beverage (F&B) establishments and an estimated 750 companies in the food-processing sector – placing F&B products in the FMCG sector as the frontrunners of the industry. The ultimate objectives for food technologists in this industry are to optimise food processing and to improve the quality of the food for the general public.
Aside from improving the quality of existing products, food technologists also research and develop new F&B products. As a food technologist, you may also be tasked to develop and improve the preservation, processing, packaging, storage and safety of F&B products while adhering to the government and industry standards.
In the FMCG and consumer goods sector, food technologists are required for different types of food products, such as dairy products, home baking products and frozen products. Quite often, you will specialise in a type or range of products depending on the employer as well as your expertise and skill set. For instance, a food technologist can choose to specialise in tinned goods.
Food technologists are often required to work in a range of locations each week. For instance, they could be spending time in the office, the store, in laboratories, and sometimes may even need to visit suppliers wherever they are based.
The tasks that are assigned to food technologists vary according to the product they are working on as well as the location of where they are working in. In the office, the responsibilities of a food technologist include sampling products, going through packaging designs, following up on customer complaints and more.
On the other hand, when visiting suppliers, they will have to review a certain product, examine its specifications to make sure they meet compliance standards, as well as to investigate complaints if required.
In terms of career structure, most graduates either join graduate schemes or start out with entry-level jobs. The job title you will typically get in an entry-level role include ‘assistant technologist’ or ‘trainee technologist’. During your graduate scheme, you’re likely to learn about products in retail stores and to get to know the operations involved.
The exposure in retails stores is aimed to give graduates hand-on experience and for you to later go on to develop products that customers would want to purchase. As you gradually work your way up to manage your own set of products, you may find yourself with opportunities for advancement into senior technologist or managerial positions. However, advancement may entail relocation or a change of employer.
To become a food technologist, graduates will need a degree in a relevant subject, such as food science or technology, food or chemical engineering, biochemistry, nutrition, microbiology or chemistry. Graduates with work experience in the food production line or by working as a technician would stand out and have a better chance at securing a job in this line of work. Other useful experiences include food processing, laboratory or quality assurance work, and even business management or marketing.
As for personal requirements, on the other hand, food technologists need to have an outstanding eye for detail, especially with regard to food hygiene and safety, and the ability to be accurate. As you will be required to work in a team, team working ability is a quality that is highly sought after by recruiters. Food technologists are also required to be good at problem solving, planning, and organising, so analytical skills and the ability to work under pressure are valued in this line of work.
Another requirement to point out is the need for you to have good hand-eye coordination. This is because you will often have to deal with experiments that involve weighing and measuring precise amounts.
Ups and Downs
If you are vegetarian or have convictions about permitted food, you may feel limited about where you can work. However, as we are moving towards a more diverse and thoughtful world, this is increasingly understood by the industry and work can be arranged and managed accordingly.
Another aspect of this area of work that graduates should be warned about is that extensive travel within the working day can be expected. The need for a food technologist to visit suppliers’ factories for audit and sampling purposes may take up more time than what the typical working hours permit.
The silver lining however, is that as you advance in your career in this field, it is possible for you to move to other business areas, such as technology, business development or sales, where your expertise and specialist knowledge will be an advantage.
Whether or not they branch out into a different profession later in their career, the biggest reward for food technologists is knowing that they’ve made a real impact in making sure that the food and beverage products on the shelves of retail stores and supermarkets are of high quality and safe to consume.
Marketing and Brand Management: Graduate Area of Work
Consumers relate to products through brands and the values they are associated with conveyed via marketing strategies.
Brand management is an ever-expanding area within the marketing function, especially within the consumer goods sector. This area of work appeals to many marketing graduates because consumer goods companies are often viewed as “marketing-led” with their generous marketing budgets, resources and expertise.
If you are looking for a graduate career in marketing and brand management in the consumer goods industry, you’ll need to have a good understanding of who your customers are and how to best communicate with them. Typically, before a career in branding management, you’ll start as a commercial graduate trainee where your role may have some overlap with the job scope of your colleagues in sales.
A career in brand management can appear to be glamorous, but it comes with a lot of hard work and pressure because of the brand name at stake. However, to succeed in the task of effectively communicating the value proposition of the product is something that is immensely rewarding for brand managers and marketers.
A graduate looking to enter this area of work typically starts off as a commercial graduate trainee where they are expected to move between sales and marketing, before progressing to become brand managers.
In the early stages of your graduate career in consumer goods marketing, you may expect to find yourself tasked with responsibilities, such as organising product launches, liaising with external agencies over brand communications and exploring marketing opportunities by working alongside colleagues in sales, market research, or technical development.
As you rise up the ranks and earn an offer to become brand manager, your duties as brand management will expand to generating names and ideas for new and existing products and services, developing and implementing marketing strategies for effective communication to the masses, and monitoring distribution of products and consumer reactions through market research.
If you are looking to advance your career beyond the role of a brand manager, you may progress to become a global brand market manager or marketing director for a particular country. The opportunity of course does not present itself for everyone. It would require years of experience and has to be earned through merit and hard work.
Recruiters in the consumer goods industry, especially the major players of the industry, prefer to hire candidates who have completed a graduate scheme. Leading employers in the consumer goods sectors often run a marketing scheme as part of their internship and graduate programmes. It is in your best interest to seek an internship while you’re still a university student as that will help you get a head start when you apply for graduate programmes.
Graduates from any degree discipline can enter a marketing graduate scheme, but recruiters do look for specific skills that are necessary to succeed in this area of work. You’ll have to demonstrate that you’re both creative and analytical. Good commercial awareness and negotiating skills are also necessary for you to go far in this career path.
The ability to think strategically and on your feet, communicate well with people across levels and be a team player are qualities highly sought after by employers of this sector.
Ups and Downs
Most FMCG brands, especially the major ones, compete in a very well-developed and in elastic markets. Due to this, most marketing activities can tend to defend market share and maintain the brand image. This would usually mean that marketing strategies can in fact be bureaucratic and process-driven rather than being innovative and exciting.
However, the FMCG sector offers genuine exposure to all areas of the marketing job, making the sector an excellent platform to develop your marketing career. It is also important to remember that the only differentiation consumers make between your products from other products is down to the quality of the marketing and brand message. So, to be able to play a key role in that, is something marketers in this sector take pride in.
Sales and Commercial: Graduate Area of Work
Building and maintaining relationships is a key role of a sales job in a consumer goods industry.
Sales roles usually revolve around customer development, mainly finding and winning new customers while maintaining existing customer accounts. Quite often, graduate sales roles in this sector will adopt a partnership approach, whereby sales representatives from the consumer goods company work alongside retail outlets to achieve maximum profitability in their businesses and maximum possible appeal for consumers.
Depending on the size of the consumer goods company, graduates with sales roles are expected to build relationships with customers ranging from retail outlets, such as major supermarket chains, to distributors, influencers and consumers. What graduates may not know is that they could also find themselves having to work with hotel groups, caterers and brewers.
Graduate sales roles in this sector often work closely with merchandising or marketing. Hence, if you are looking to enter this line of work as a graduate, you can expect to have an overlap of marketing job roles, which are aimed to maximise sales to consumers. This may include managing or participating in brand-related initiatives and executing local promotions.
It is common for FMCG companies to offer graduate schemes specific for customer development to cover different aspects required for a sales role. During the early stages of a graduate career in sales, you may expect to familiarise yourself with account management and building relationships with clients.
If you are enrolled into a structured graduate training programme in this industry, you may be introduced to category management, where you will work on a specific category of products so you can specialise in that area. For instance, it could be toiletries or sports goods. The purpose for category management is so that you can be familiar with the products’ market place, consumers and competitors in order to be able to advise customers on suitable stocks for their demographics.
Day-to-day tasks of a sales job in the consumer goods sector would most likely involve keeping in contact with existing customers, meeting new customers, reaching sales targets, promoting new products and special deals, as well as advising customers about delivery schedules and after-sales service. Some desk work, such as recording orders and sending details to the office and giving feedback on sales trends, should also be expected.
Sales in FMCG often involve the business to business (B2B) model – the selling of products or services from one business to another. Hence, most of your sales efforts will be concentrated in building and maintaining supplier and retail relationships with key companies and organisations.
Sales jobs are often open to graduates from any degree background. However, due to the niche nature of some consumer goods company, food-related, land-based or life sciences subjects may be preferred. On the other hand, having studied business and management-related subjects will put you an advantage as well. Language skills are also valued in this line of work as you will have to speak to customers of diverse backgrounds.
Employers of the consumer goods industry look for specific competencies and skills when it comes to recruiting candidates for a sales role. To succeed, you’ll need to have excellent negotiation skills, good communication and interpersonal skills. Above all, recruiters need to know that you are able to stay confident, motivated and determined even in the face of rejection which is something common in a sales job.
Ups and Downs
One of the most attractive reasons why many graduates choose a career in sales is the potential of earning a high pay in comparison to many other choices. Many positions offer relatively high starting salaries with commission on top. Companies generally pay their sales teams well because they are the ones that generate revenue for the company.
However, as it is up to you to generate revenue, develop relationships, and drive a profitable business for the company, you are often held accountable for the performance of the company. This usually brings in a level of stress. Additionally, developing customer relationships or a sales ‘territory’ is not a nine to five job. It is common for you to have to meet clients after the conventional working hours.
A high income comes high accountability and responsibility to achieve your numbers and goals. It’s important for you to know what you’re signing up for!
Health and Safety: Graduate Area of Work
Health and safety officers use their knowledge and skills to ensure a positive health and safety culture in the workplace.
Manufacturing and production environments in consumer goods companies that involve heavy duty machinery and raw materials are dangerous workplaces, where risks of injuries and accidents are high. To protect employees in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower have stringent regulations such as the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Act which employers must comply to.
Consumer goods companies hence have the responsibility to employ qualified and skilled candidates to ensure that the company meets the safety standards as stipulated by the authorities. Health and safety officers in this industry are responsible for developing, maintaining and protecting health and safety legislations.
Graduates in this role can make a big impact to everyone working in a company, but like they always say, with great power (to impact) comes great responsibility. If you are interested in entering this area of work, you’ll be held accountable for health and safety issues that may arise in the company.
Graduates in health and safety within the consumer goods industry carry out risk assessments and manufacturing site inspections on a regular basis to identify any potential hazards that put staff at risk.
As a graduate in this field, you’ll also be responsible in analysing and drawing up ways and mechanisms to reduce risks. This comes in the form of policies and strategies that are implemented across all manufacturing and production sites and teams. You’ll not only be working on things at the planning stage but right through the execution too.
Additionally, you’ll have to make sure varying teams from across the company’s sites are on the same page by providing health and safety meetings and training courses to all staff. In other words, you’ll very much be holding a leadership role where you are setting the health and safety benchmark for your colleagues to follow. You’ll have to communicate the standards clearly and ensure they are well adhered to.
You’ll also have to liaise with relevant authorities that regulate the type of consumer goods that the company manufactures. Moreover, you’ll need to keep up to date to ensure the company’s compliance with the latest health and safety legislations in place.
It is now more common for recruiters to look for graduates with relevant degrees to fulfil the role of health and safety officers. Typically, degrees or qualifications in health and safety, risk management, engineering, construction, business, management and law are useful when applying for this role.
You may choose to register yourself to be a workplace safety and health officer (WSHO) under Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower later in your career especially if you would like to advance into a managerial position.
Graduates should have excellent written and spoken communication skills as they are required to explain health and safety processes and standards to a range of people within the company. Negotiation skills and diplomacy are also qualities that recruiters look for because you’ll have to collaborate with managers across teams in the company to implement and maintain safety standards which may sometimes compromise the speed or efficiency of the working process. For this reason, you’ll also have to demonstrate that you can be assertive during times where you have to hold your ground to ensure your colleagues’ safety.
You should also be physically fit as your job may entail spending time on large-scale manufacturing sites and outdoor sites. Needless to say, you need to also have strong analytical, problem-solving and organisational skills in order to acquire and apply detailed legal, technical and regulatory information.
Pros and Cons
Although work is often said to be generally office based, health and safety officers will spend a lot of time in manufacturing and production sites, transportation systems, factories and sometimes the outdoors (depending on the business of the consumer goods company). Traveling during the day is common if you have multi-site responsibilities. Moreover, some of these sites can be noisy and dangerous or in cramped conditions.
However, it’s important to remember that you are impacting lives by protecting your colleagues through the safety frameworks you’ve set up for the company. The significance of your role is vital in building a safe and healthy working environment for all.
Submitted by Nurhuda Syed on Thu, 2017-06-22 16:57
Get all the advice you need to kickstart your career in Consumer Goods & FMCG!
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FMCG Areas of Work
FMCG Sector Essentials
Supply Chain: Graduate Area of Work
A career in supply chain involves the process of getting consumer products onto shelves from start to finish.
Supply chain oversees the product journey, from raw material to supply of the finished product to the point of sale. It is essential to have a supply chain with a high level of service, quality and efficiency in order to meet the needs of the consumers while actively enhancing the company’s profitability.
Due to the high volume and speed of production in this sector, graduates in this field will be able to experience working in a demanding and fast-paced commercial environment.
However, it will also give graduates the opportunity to flex their intellectual muscles by researching and implementing methods that can reduce environmental impact throughout the product journey as the industry works toward meeting corporate responsibility and sustainability goals.
Major FMCG companies offer graduate schemes designed to introduce graduates to different aspects of the supply chain. The graduate programme typically lasts for a year or two and involves rotations across different areas of the supply chain, such as procurement, demand planning and logistics.
Graduate roles may range from purchasing raw materials to customer service and distribution. As a graduate with a role in purchasing, you may be expected to analyse markets, assess suppliers, and prepare and carry out negotiations with them.
You are also required to manage data about your transactions to be used in project management and price forecasting, especially if you are working on supply management or strategic purchasing.
If you are placed in customer service and distribution, your responsibility will include warehousing, overseeing transport arrangements, managing shelf availability as well as ensuring the timely delivery of products.
On the other hand, if you end up being placed in supply chain planning, you will be required to liaise with the different functions in the business to lock down potential sales for a product and later plan for factories to meet those sales on time.
Skills picked up in this industry are largely transferrable among businesses in different industries, as the demanding environment of the consumer goods sector sets its employees up to progress well in other equally fast-paced industries.
Supply chain roles require a logical mind and the ability to solve problems. The need to work with various departments will require good communication skills and the ability to be a team player.
Working with demanding vendors and clients can also be stressful, hence patience and solid negotiation skills are important for graduates who are interested in this field.
Employers in this field also have a preference for candidates with a background in logistics, engineering, IT, operations management, finance, business administration and supply chain-related qualifications and degrees.
However, candidates who do not possess such qualifications are still welcomed, but they will need to demonstrate sound commercial awareness, and strong analytical and problem-solving abilities.
Ups and downs
Work pressure is something that most employees struggle with, given that customer’s satisfaction is of top priority. However, the stable and constant demand for workers in the consumer goods sector provides a range of opportunities to graduates interested in this field.
Research and Development: Graduate Area of Work
Research and development (R&D) allows graduates to transform scientific ideas into business practices.
A career in this field will involve figuring out how to meet consumer demand and turn concepts into reality. FMCG companies place a priority in recruiting innovative and talented graduates for the R&D team as they play a vital role in ensuring that the company stays ahead of the competition.
The fundamental aim of R&D in this industry is to refine existing products and develop new ones with the use cutting-edge technologies.
As a nation known for its formidable research capabilities, Singapore is the leading player in the consumer business in Asia, with key multinational corporations (MNCs) such as Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, and Mondelez setting up R&D centres in Singapore.
The maturity of this area of work in Singapore provides graduates with vast learning and growth opportunities.
Although scientific and technological investigation and experiments make up a large part in graduate R&D jobs, you can expect to work outside of the lab as well, and with teams from other areas of the business, such as manufacturing and marketing.
Quite often, graduate training programmes offered by FMCG companies are designed to ensure interaction amongst the various teams.
As a graduate trainee, you can also expect your work to include patent protection, regulatory compliance and ensuring that products have the lowest possible environmental impact. This is where graduates are able to use their problem solving and analytical skills to make a real and positive impact to the environment.
That said, the structure of each R&D division varies depending on the company’s needs. Different tasks and roles will be assigned at different stages of a product’s life cycle ranging from prototype to manufacturing and full-scale production.
Additionally, some FMCG organisations have specific research centres located across the globe, giving graduates in this field the opportunity for travel and international exposure.
These centres tend to focus on conducting research to develop and/or improve a particular aspect of the organisation’s products, for example on flavour, fragrance, appearance, texture or nutrition only, rather than on the entire product as a whole.
Unlike other areas of work in this sector, R&D roles call for candidates with technical qualifications in specific disciplines related to the field of research, for example in chemistry, chemical engineering, food science or biology.
Some research positions may also require postgraduate qualifications.
However, having the right qualifications may not be enough for you to secure the role as recruiters also look for individuals who have a different view on things, have good commercial awareness, and are curious and inquisitive in nature.
This is because R&D professionals need to be willing to constantly ask questions and to follow up on them in order to keep up with the quickly-changing market demands.
Ups and downs
A common frustration that researchers in this industry express is the need to keep up with the rapid changes in market trends and consumer demand. You may find yourself working on a project for some time, only to discover the need to alter your area of research due to an unexpected drop in demand.
However, the variety of tasks that you will have to perform in your role will ensure an exciting job scope. You will also be surrounded by a diverse range of experts in their fields, providing you with plenty of resources and opportunities for growth.
Human Resources and Recruitment: Graduate Area of Work
The human resources department is largely responsible for recruiting and training candidates to meet the company’s talent demand.
Consumer goods companies know the critical role that a strong talent pool plays in securing continued commercial success. Company output is dependent on employee competence which human resources (HR) and recruitment management have a strong influence in.
HR roles in this industry entail the recruitment, selection, training, and performance management process as well as compensation practices.
As the workforce in the consumer goods industry comprise of different areas of expertise, you will find yourself on the perfect platform for learning and growth with maximum exposure to working with diverse individuals.
Large FMCG organisations may offer graduate schemes catered specifically for HR roles. For companies that do not offer a specific HR training programme, you may be able to break into the industry through an entry-level role as a HR assistant.
During the course of a graduate scheme, you’ll primarily be gaining a broad perspective on HR and an in-depth, practical understanding of different areas of the business.
As a fresh grad, your placement would require you to spend time in different locations ranging from manufacturing sites to the head office.
You may also get the chance to take on international projects or be appointed as the single point of contact for employees at a specific site. Gaining such responsibilities early on in your career will push you to adopt an in-depth understanding of the work culture and needs of the team.
Additionally, you will be involved in designing and facilitating team building events and gaining an understanding of the employee life cycle from the point of recruitment to retirement. You can expect mentoring and support from your experienced colleagues as you go through the training programme.
Employers usually consider applications from a range of degree backgrounds for entry-level HR roles. However, a degree in human resources, management and business will give you an edge.
Whether or not you have a relevant degree, it is important for you to demonstrate a genuine interest and strong knowledge on the general consumer goods market. Some experience in leadership roles in university clubs, volunteer experiences and projects will add to your credibility as a candidate.
You will also need to demonstrate effective interpersonal skills as a role in HR entails regular interaction with colleagues from various education and cultural backgrounds in the global organisation.
Pros and cons
Having in-depth knowledge about the company may be a daunting but necessary task when you hold a HR role in a sector with such diverse departments and talents.
You’ll have to understand the challenges faced by different employees, which can be specific to their departments, to be able to provide a solution accordingly.
However, there is satisfaction in knowing that you get to make a direct impact on your organisation’s output by boosting the staff’s productivity.
Manufacturing and Engineering: Graduate Area of Work
Engineers in this industry are primarily responsible for developing and optimising manufacturing processes to promote efficiency.
Engineering in consumer goods companies is a diverse area of work. It includes designing and installing advanced machinery and ensuring that production lines run smoothly. The fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry manufactures products on a massive scale, entailing complex operations that often involves leading-edge technologies.
Aside from overseeing the machinery, engineers are expected to maintain, upgrade and optimise all equipment. As consumer demand constantly fluctuates, engineers need to innovate new machines and processes to match them.
Maintaining reliability is a trending issue in this field, and engineers are involved in implementing efforts to make machines run efficiently and consistently for long periods of time. Automation and robotics are also growing areas of focus in this sector.
Graduate engineers can expect to be involved in the process design for the manufacturing of new products. During this stage, you’ll be tasked to assess the needed machinery and equipment and how to maintain them throughout the manufacturing process. You’ll be working as part of a larger, multi-disciplinary project team.
For instance, you may have to work with production colleagues who will assess the ingredients required and determine the number of people required to man the production lines. Throughout such tasks, graduate engineers also develop ways to manage, reduce and recycle waste.
As a graduate engineer, you may find yourself in either production or manufacturing roles. Roles in production primarily focus on product creation and making sure that products meet the required quality levels.
You’ll also work on people management and shift management, which is an excellent training ground for graduate engineers to get to know different teams of people who run the production lines and the procedures better. Aside from working with colleagues from different departments, you’ll also have to liaise with external suppliers and distributors.
Manufacturing roles on the other hand are focused on increasing efficiency and the improvement of industrial performance. Here, you may find yourself putting your analytical skills and problem-solving skills to the test as you’ll be tasked with analysing problems for possible solutions.
It’s not just brainwork, though. You’ll also be required to put control mechanisms in place to make sure that the improvement is sustainable.
Most engineering disciplines can apply for manufacturing jobs in this industry. Work in this sector is challenging and fast moving, so recruiters look for graduates who can think on their feet, have strong analytical abilities and a strong drive for continuous improvement.
You’ll also need good interpersonal and project management skills, especially for manufacturing roles, as you will work with people inside and outside of the company for projects.
Pros and cons
This area of work will often have you travelling to different manufacturing sites in multiple locations, which may tire some individuals after some time.
However, such an arrangement opens up more opportunities for graduates to learn about the company and be acquainted with other functions within the organisation. The pace and steep learning curve will also push you to learn more in a shorter period of time, contributing to your personal and professional growth.