The job market is looking solid despite the usual seasonal dip that appears in the lead up to Christmas. The unemployment rate has unexpectedly decreased to 5.6 per cent from 5.7 per cent in August and at Six Degrees we have a number of clients approaching us with new roles.
On the talent side, this time of year is traditionally quieter where talent has a lower propensity to change roles. The upshot here being there are some great opportunities, with less competition in the market, for those who are open to a move this side of Christmas.
1. A shift in the maintenance manager profile. Traditionally these roles have been filled by talent with a trade background and relied on reactive maintenance practices. However, as the market has become more competitive, a technical, mechanical engineering background is more attractive to businesses. Maintenance managers are now expected to design and implement reliability strategies incorporating preventative maintenance, as well as meeting reactive needs.
2. Superstar account managers in high demand. Account managers who have direct experience in managing the major national supermarkets are highly sought after. However, top talent with such exposure are paid a premium (a competitive retention strategy) or are burnt out due to the high demands and challenges in working in the current retail market. Due to this we have noticed an increase in the number of account managers looking for experience in other industries.
3. Innovation is high on the food tech agenda. Many of our clients are increasing their spend on food technology as a means to innovate. This has led to an increase in the number of Research & Development and New Product Development roles, and the need for talent with a food science background is rising. We expect this trend to continue upwards for the foreseeable future.
4. Continuous improvement remains at the forefront. Achieving cost efficiencies as a means to gain competitive advantage has resulted in a demand for production managers with continuous improvement experience, that are able to drive efficiencies by identifying lean and six sigma opportunities.
5. Reinvestment in specialist marketing functions. FMCG businesses are gaining huge value from roles such as shopper marketing and consumer insights. Traditionally this talent was largely sourced from international markets such as the UK. However, a shift has occurred and we are finding a lot more home grown talent available.
Jennifer Kenworthy is the Manager of the FMCG Sales & Marketing division for Six Degrees Executive, a specialist recruitment consultancy providing talent solutions within the FMCG space.