Why The FMCG Sector Isn’t Attracting Talent

Why The FMCG Sector Isn't Attracting Talent

Why The FMCG Sector Isn’t Attracting Talent

You’d hardly expect the largest manufacturing sector in the country, turning over £80 billion per year, and where employees earn 5% more than the national UK average to have so many recruitment issues.  In fact, you’d expect it to be one of the most desirable industries to work in.

By 2017 the industry will need to recruit 137,000 new employees to the sector, a hard feat for an industry which is currently experiencing a massive talent and skills gap. The number is becoming increasingly unattainable as the days go by.

A recent report by the EEF found that manufacturing vacancies were considered ‘hard to fill’, with 35% of respondents citing this as a major issue. The blame was mostly aimed at a lack of technical skills, relevant experience or qualifications, and worryingly; an insufficient number of applicants.

The industry pace is increasing alongside the decline in applicants, leading talented employees to become a valuable commodity every business wants to get their hands on. Is there a solution to the problem? Or is the FMCG sector heading for burnout?

Focus on Current Staff

If you aren’t focusing your efforts on retaining your current talent, then you aren’t going to be attracting prospective employees to your business. Why would they want to work for your business, if they can’t see any potential to develop during their time? If you want to attract young, fresh talent who are keen to learn and eager to work their way up, then avoid putting stumbling blocks in their path and make the progression route clear.

Add staff retention and progression to your manufacturing agenda, without the right employees, your business is worth nothing. After all, it’s them who are on the front-line and completing the day to day tasks. Other industries seem to have grasped this, while the manufacturing industry lags behind.

FMCG businesses should be creating a company where a culture of progression, investment and happiness are at its core. Implement these key components and you have a business which is on its way to attracting the right talent.

Graduate VS Experienced Talent

Graduates; enthusiastic, keen to learn and make their mark on the industry and have the educational qualifications to back it up. However, they often lack the practical experience. Experienced talent; years of knowledge, know the industry inside and out. Yet, have been worn down by years of little progression.

There are arguments for hiring on both sides of the spectrum, but at some point there’s going to come a time when experienced talent will have run out, and fresh employees need to be brought in.  FMCG companies need to find the balance between an injection of fresh talent, alongside the knowledge an experienced professional can also bring to the business.

Banish Old School Culture

The ‘old boys club’ culture is still ingrained into FMCG businesses, where a draconian management structure out rules millennial desires. But, when the future of the industry is reliant upon younger talent, outdated business practices need to be replaced with ones which appeal to younger generations.

‘Lifers’ in the FMCG sector are increasingly rare; with many averaging 2 to 4 years before they move on to the next role where the same outdated cultures await them. The cycle needs to be revolutionised, and until one business is bold enough to make the first move, habits will remain unchanged.

Traditional workplace ideologies are being replaced with Millennial wishes. Family dynamics are not what they used to be, and our world is increasingly digital; these are two of the biggest contributing factors to a change in workplace norms. FMCG companies need to realise this and revolutionise their practices to get talent through the door.

Invest Internally, Not Externally

Your brand is everything, but unless you’re practising what you preach internally as well as externally, then your overall brand image can become extremely transparent very quickly. Focus on your internal infrastructure and practices, to reassure talent that you’ll do right by them.

Identify what you’re currently offering and locate areas for improvement. It can be a case of trial and error, but once you’ve found a strategy that works then run with it. However, remember to continually review it. A successful company never becomes complacent with its current performance.

Your business foundations should always be solid, but even more so when you’re recruiting.

As a business, you should be projecting an image of security and solidarity for both current and prospective employees. You want to show talent that you’re a secure and prosperous company to work for, not one that’s covering up the cracks.

There are no longer ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ around when FMCG companies will change to attract talent. It’s a case of when.

Lukas Vanterpool started The Sterling Choice in 2013. Collectively the team has over 50 years of experience in placing professionals in the FMCG, food and engineering sectors. They work with both SMEs and global organisations in the UK and internationally.

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