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Graduate jobs in consumer goods and FMCG

What skills and qualifications do I need to get a graduate job in FMCG?

FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) 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.

Big FMCG companies 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 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
  • skilled at 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

Video interviews for consumer goods graduate schemes

Consumer goods employers often use a video interview at an early stage in their recruitment process, and our FMCG interview tips will help you prepare. You could be asked questions about your motivation and understanding of the business, or hypothetical questions designed to assess how you would behave in different situations. You should make sure you're familiar with the company's products before your interview, and it's a good idea to know about competitor products too, though you need to make sure you don't get them mixed up.

Assessment centres for jobs with big FMCG employers typically include a group exercise and a competency-based interview. Knowing what to expect from an assessment centre for a consumer goods graduate scheme will help you succeed.

Pay and progression for graduate recruits

Our advice on pay and progression in graduate careers in consumer goods gives an overview of your salary prospects.

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.

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.

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 are also on the lookout for evidence of commitment to the industry and enthusiasm about their products.