Graduate jobs in consumer goods and FMCG
How to get a graduate job in FMCG
Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies typically sell large quantities of relatively low-cost products that customers buy on a regular basis, such as cleaning products, toiletries, cosmetics and confectionery. You can find out how to get onto a graduate training programme in this area from our advice on how to get a graduate job in consumer goods.
Big FMCG companies typically offer a range of internships and graduate schemes in areas such as marketing, supply chain, finance, engineering and research and development. They tend to look for graduates who have at least a 2.1. Relevant degree subjects are required in technical areas such as engineering and may be preferred in areas such as supply chain.
FMCG graduate schemes in the following areas are typically open to graduates from all degree backgrounds:
- Management programmes, though you'll need to demonstrate that you are numerate
- Financial management programmes – applicants should be sufficiently comfortable with numbers to cope with an accountancy qualification
- Marketing programmes – usually open to applicants from any degree background. You’ll need to be both creative and analytical, with good commercial awareness and negotiating skills.
The recruitment process for consumer goods graduate schemes
Consumer goods employers often use a video interview as part of their recruitment process, and our video interview tips will help you through this stage. Assessment centres typically include a group exercise and a competency-based interview. Knowing what to expect from an assessment centre for a consumer products graduate scheme will help you succeed.
Skills you'll need to get a graduate job in consumer goods
FMCG employers seek to recruit graduates who are:
- Team players who have the potential to lead
- Capable of innovation and taking a creative approach to business development
- Problem solving – you need to be able to respond quickly and decisively to difficulties
- Commercially aware
- Sensitive to environmental impact of activities such as manufacturing and distributing products
- Well organised, and know how to prioritise
- Strong communicators capable of negotiation and persuasion
Language skills, a global outlook and a willingness to relocate could also help you get a place on a graduate scheme, as consumer goods companies seek to increase their presence in developing markets. Recruiters could also look for evidence of commitment to the industry and enthusiasm about their products, and having done an internship with a consumer goods employer could be an advantage. Extracurricular activities and work experience will help you to demonstrate that you have relevant skills. You'll also need to research both the employer you are targeting and the competition – and make sure you don’t muddle up their flagship products!
Starting salaries on FMCG graduate schemes
The average starting salary for a graduate recruit working in FMCG is £29,000, according to a 2016 survey of members of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), which represents many multinational businesses that recruit large numbers of graduates. Only banking and financial services employers, law firms, investment banks and the public sector offered higher starting pay.
The consumer goods industry is dominated by big, market-leading companies that tend to be responsible for numerous household-name brands, and these employers tend to run structured training schemes that offer relevant professional qualifications. You could also find your first graduate job with a smaller consumer goods company, such as a start-up.
How much competition is there for consumer goods jobs?
You might be surprised by the level of competition for graduate roles with big FMCG companies. According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters membership survey published in October 2016, consumer goods employers received more applications per vacancy that year than investment banks or IT companies. Only transport and logistics companies and retail companies received more.