Career choices in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)
Looking for exciting opportunities in one of the biggest industries in South Africa, and the world? Then a career in Fast Moving Consumer Goods might just be for you. There are a host of FMCG jobs and career options that can be found within the FMCG industry and there is a range of choices that cover many different career paths and opportunities.
What is FMCG?
FMCG stands for fast moving consumer goods, which can be described as goods that we use almost every day of our lives, and range from foods, household products, toiletries and much more. They are all goods that are in high demand and are sold in large volumes, often on a daily basis.
You’ll find a wide range of these types of goods in different stores and retailers you visit and with so many options, it means a variety of jobs and possible careers in the exciting and fast paced industry.
Many of the largest companies in the world have a focus on FMCG goods, arguably the most notable are Unilever and Procter & Gamble alongside many more household names, which produce thousands of the goods each day.
One of the most exciting aspects about working in the FMCG industry is that it is broad and not limited to a career path or degree type. This means you can work in research, marketing, manufacturing, engineering and so much, all within the road scope of the industry and various company offerings.
Sound interesting? You’ll need to be able to handle a fast paced environment, be organised and a great problem solver. These are vital for all jobs within the industry as each and every situation may be different but these core skills are key.
FMCG Jobs and Careers
The possible careers within the industry are seemingly limitless and you can find a host of FMCG jobs that are exciting and aim for innovation.
So what the career options? The careers are as varied as they are exciting and including marketing, supply chain management, research and manufacturing.
Marketing and market research
You can find yourself in a marketing or market research job for a range of global products and can use your skillset and knowledge to gain better insight into the consumer, to help push sales and to better understand and innovate.
Finding out how to improve and better products is a key part of the FMCG industry and as a market researcher your job would be to use the insight to provide solutions and opportunities.
Research and Development
Just as market research is vital to understanding consumers, a career in research and development means for ways to put the findings into practice and try out new and exciting options. R&D teams are often made up of engineers and scientists who work together to innovate and create new products and offerings.
Supply Chain Management
Managing the supply chain is key to getting fast moving consumer goods out of the factory and into stores. A career in supply chain management is fast paced, involves dealing with a range of different suppliers and distributors. You’ll also find yourself working on innovating, improving and strategizing about the best, and most cost effective, ways to get goods to stores and ultimately the consumer.
FMCG jobs within manufacturing offers the chance to help on products, improve technology and help with the various production line processes. A good balance of quality and fast paced production is key and a job in manufacturing offers the chance to be at the front line of production. Customising or improving production lines and process are a large part of the job.
Responsibilities associated with Careers in FMCG
Although the responsibilities differ across the various jobs, there is a range of key responsibilities across them.
If you are going into retail, buying and marketing, you’ll be conducting market forecasts, creating marketing collateral, overseeing projects and more. As for supply chain management, you’ll be handling suppliers and deliveries, as well as handling logistics and a range of processes.
Market research, or research and design in the FMCG Industry will see you taking charge of and handling focus groups, conducting research and gaining insight into the market.
If you’re heading into manufacturing you’ll find yourself creating, designing and managing various systems, technological improvements and working on innovation in the production line.
Skills Required for FMCG Jobs
If you are going into retail, buying and marketing, you’ll need to understand the product, consumers and market trends. As for supply chain management, you’ll need to be a quick thinker and have great communication skills.
As for market research, communication skills are vital, as handling focus groups, presenting research and much more, require it. Being highly creative and an out-of-the-box thinker helps too.
If you’re heading into manufacturing you’ll need to be a logical thinker and able to work in a deadline driven environment. Innovation and product improvements are always key, so being able to have a creative spark can help too.
Fast Moving Consumer Goods and the careers associated with it will allow you to learn, experience and grow in a fast paced and exciting environment. There are also many opportunities for growth, to expand and grow in your career and field, whatever it may be.
FMCG jobs also allow you the chance to work on a range of products that millions of consumers use and love, and know that your work could have possible impact and positive changes and innovation in the area.
Salaries in the FMCG industry vastly differ; this is due to the fact that there are so many possibilities within the industry. Graduate programs also factor in and skew the results. The most highly paid jobs are for mechanical, electrical or chemical engineers, as well as those in research and development, which range from around R25 000 to R40 000 and then marketing and retail, which fall slightly shorter.
In each case, the salary depends on degree and experience, which cause it to fluctuate.
Education and Training requirements
You’ll need to match the job you want with the degree and see where your passions lie. Luckily this industry has just about everything from finance, IT, engineering to marketing and human resources.
While there are no specific training requirement for fast moving consumer goods as an industry, there are countless options among the fields and companies that work within the industry.
So where to start and what to do? If you are thinking of getting into retail or management, you can consider a degree through UNISA, through the Department of Marketing and Retail Management.
With a degree in marketing or one in retail you’ll focus on marketing management, strategy, retail marketing, strategy and market research. All this is invaluable for working in FMCG, as it’ll help you understand consumers’ needs and wants.
You can choose qualifications in Marketing, Retailing and if you have completed your degree you can either do a Postgraduate or Short Course to gain more in-depth knowledge or brush up.
If it’s a more technical side you are after, you can consider a degree in engineering from the University of Cape Town. Mechanical, electrical or chemical engineering degrees are often considered the most useful for the FMCG industry. As an engineering student and postgraduate student, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about automation, systems engineering, robotics, performance improvement and much more.
All of the degrees last about four to five years while postgraduate and short courses can range from a year or two.
If you are placed in one of the graduate programs offered by a company in the FMCG industry after your degree, it’ll provide invaluable experience and understanding into the industry and relating to the degree you have studied. All of these programs offer opportunities to grow and develop within the company.