Entering the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Industry
Companies in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry usually recruit candidates from all academic backgrounds, though some firms like Amazon have precise degree or diploma requirements and others, such as Dyson, prefer a 2:1 on top of specific fields of study. However, if an employer is bringing in a large number of recruits, different training programmes may be offered.
But because the allure and appeal of the FMCG sector attracts so many graduates – scores of students have named L’Oréal the company they would like to work for – competition for limited vacancies can get intense, heightened by university graduates from a variety of countries willing to settle for smaller wages.
Understanding FMCG companies
A good grasp of what FMCG companies are and what they do can go a long way to help your application. Firms in this sector generally sell huge quantities of products such as soap and cosmetics to consumers for a low cost, and, as such, these commodities are typically manufactured in bulk before distribution.
As competition among companies is high, firms are always looking to introduce new products and refine existing goods as well as build up their brand awareness and engage consumers. Thus, organisations typically invest heavily in research and development and marketing.
Supply chain management is also crucial in FMCG, from gathering the raw materials needed for the product to the point of sale. Maximising the efficiency in the various processes is imperative for firms to not only meet consumers’ needs but to raise profits, as is reducing its impact on the environment.
Skills and qualifications
While most companies in the industry have varying degree requirements, some roles, such as those in finance and engineering, look at more specific qualifications. Employers in the FCMG sector, much like other employers in different industry, also keep a look out for team players with leadership qualities, and who are able to negotiate and innovate while remaining resilient, adaptable and flexible. Communication and problem-solving skills are also important, as is commercial awareness.
Some employers, such as Carlsberg, offer a range of graduate schemes and programmes. In Singapore, applications for graduate schemes usually begin around August and run to September, but a number of companies also accept applications year-round. Language and global skills, alongside a willingness to relocate and remain mobile may also help you get into a graduate training scheme or programme.
If you’re worried that you may not be able to compete well enough to secure a place in a graduate programme, you can instead turn your attention to internships or work placements, using experience gained to set yourself apart from other hopefuls. Insights to the industry the company you will be attached to will not be the only benefit you’ll get from an internship or work placement – prospective employers would also be able to get a look at how committed you are to joining this industry.
For example, Dyson, one of the most popular FMCG companies in Singapore, offers both graduate programmes and internships, and you can look at both to see which one suits you best.
FMCG is also a sector wherein any experience you have – such as retail experience – can be applicable. Extracurricular activities in student clubs have the potential to be relevant as well as they not only give examples of your skills in communication and teamwork, but also other attributes firms may be on the look out for.
However, even if you have no relevant or prior experience in this industry, if you have a strong application and are able to show off the skills employers are keeping an eye out for, you can still stand a chance of entering.