Exclusive FMCG jobs market update – July

CareerConsumer sentiment has been reasonably positive as we settle into the new financial year, with the Westpac Melbourne Institute reporting a rise of 0.4 percent in the month of July to 96.6.

This has been the first increase in four months. Consumers also feel positive about the economic outlook for the next 12 months with an increase of 1.8 percent.

The new financial year also brings a surge of activity on the talent side. People have had their reviews and salary negotiations and often reassess their career objectives at the completion of the year.   

The growing appeal of SME’s. In the last few months, we have a seen a significant increase in talent looking to explore opportunities with smaller businesses to acquire a greater breadth of experience across the supply chain. Larger organisations with specialised areas of supply chain are no longer appealing to talent, as they do not offer to develop a diverse range of skill sets that they are looking to gain.

Shortage of engineers with soft skills. There remains a skills gap within the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industry. Technical skills are a mandate for engineers, although our clients will often make their final hiring decisions based on attitude and behaviours to separate talent, who in most cases, have similar technical skills.

Given the constant changes the manufacturing industry is faced with in Australia, it is essential for engineers to possess softer skills to be able to manage through ambiguity and influence others in their business to drive sustained change and improvement. 

FMCG businesses open to contractors. Several of our clients are more frequently opting to take on a contractor as opposed to permanent talent. This is generally driven by a desire for flexibility with the goal to increase agility and deliver on key projects. This is particularly in the case if there is uncertainty around the level of investment a business will make into the future, making it more difficult to justify permanent hires.

There has also been an upturn from talent for contract work as the stigma associated with ‘career contractors’ is dissipating. Recent projections have shown that as much as 40% of the workforce will be made up of freelance or contract work by the year 2020 in the US, usually a reasonable indication that Australia will follow suit.

Health and wellness expands to include ethical alignment. Consumers are still strongly focused on health and wellness. Traditional drivers such as taste, price and convenience are no longer major factors influencing Australian consumers, leaving companies to continuously innovate to meet demand. Customers have more power than ever, and this trend has expanded not only to include health and wellness, but also ethical sourcing in the supply chains.

Retailers removing private labels that are bringing in no profit. In 2005, it was predicted that private label sales in Australia were on the path to double over a five-year period. Today, private-label products make up 30 per cent of all food and grocery sales in Australia. As a result, we are seeing retailers remove unprofitable private labels from their shelves.

Scott Logan is a Contracting Consultant specialising in Engineering and Operations at Six Degrees Executive, a specialist recruitment consultancy providing talent solutions within the FMCG space.

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