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HR and recruitment - standing out

HR and recruitment: area of work

In a graduate career in human resources in a consumer goods company, you'll help to to hire the top talent that will ensure your employer's future success.

Leading fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies want to attract and retain the top talent from around the world to ensure that their businesses continue to grow and prosper and are able to adapt swiftly to change. As getting the right people is so crucial to ongoing commercial success, human resources (HR) is regarded as a key business function and some graduate recruiters include a specific HR stream in their graduate programmes.

If you’re interested in an HR career in a fast-paced, global organisation that makes household name products, with a workforce that includes many different specialisms and areas of expertise, a consumer goods company could provide you with just the opportunity you’re looking for.

What is it like doing a human resources job in FMCG?

You may be able to secure an entry level role as an HR assistant at a consumer products company that does not offer a specific HR training programme as part of its graduate scheme. If you do get a place on a HR graduate scheme, you should gain both a broad perpective on HR and an in-depth understanding of different areas of the business. You’ll learn about how your employer hires, trains, moves and manages people, and you’re likely to be given the opportunity to work in different markets. You’ll champion the organisation’s values and develop systems and tools for attracting, rewarding and developing employees.

As a fresh graduate, your placements might include spending time at a production plant, at head office, and providing support to a specialist team. You could also take on international projects or be assigned to spend some time at an office overseas.

You’re likely to get the chance of early responsibility. For example, after you start a graduate scheme you could find yourself, on your first placement, as the single point of contact for the leadership team and employees at a plant, and you’ll need to get to grips with their culture and needs.

You could be given your own HR projects to run within the first year of joining a consumer goods company as a HR recruit. For example, you could be asked to assess the working environment in a business unit to establish what is working well and helping employees to perform their best, and what needs to be improved. If there is an office move to organise, it may fall to you to plan the transition and ensure that it takes place smoothly, with minimal disruption to business. You could also get involved in leading training sessions, carrying out job interviews and designing and facilitating team building events.

On the way, you should receive training, mentoring and support, and build up experience of change management, employee relations (including recruitment and setting suitable salaries) and leadership development. You’ll gain an understanding of the employee life cycle, from recruitment to retirement.

What skills, aptitudes and qualifications are needed for graduate HR jobs in the FMCG sector?

If you want to work in a dynamic, fast-paced, forward-looking environment, with all the opportunities and challenges that come with competing in a global marketplace, a HR career in FMCG should suit you down to the ground.

You’ll need to be a proactive self-starter with a results-orientated approach, as you may be expected to take on your own projects in the early stages of your career. Recruiters will also look for a strong academic record and general market knowledge and interest. They will generally be willing to consider applications from a range of degree backgrounds.