FMCG stands for “fast moving consumer goods” and refers to the industry which designs, manufacturers and sells products which are designed to be sold quickly and fairly cheaply.
A variety of every day supermarket products fall into this category; from perishables, such as meat, dairy and vegetable products, to longer lasting goods like toiletries, cosmetics and cleaning products. Also found in this category will be bottom of the range mobile phones and other low-end electrical goods which are designed to be low cost but not particularly durable.
In general, profit margins on FMCG products are not particularly high but the large volumes in which these products are bought, along with high purchase rates and the inevitability of repeat purchases means that there is a lot of money to be made in the industry.
Companies in this Sector
Many companies in the FMCG industry may be well known for producing one particular product but often have a whole range of products in the same area. A good example of this is the Coca-Cola Corporation, which is obviously most famous for selling Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero but also sells Sprite, Fanta, Dr. Pepper and a whole host of other soft drinks.
It is also not uncommon for major multinational FMCG companies to be responsible for a variety of products in entirely different areas. For instance, Unilever are responsible for an eclectic mix of brands: amongst other things, the company produces Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Lynx deodorant and PG Tips teabags.
Other companies in the world of the FMCG sector include confectionary company Nestlé, shampoo and beauty products producer L’Oreal and the pharmaceutical behemoth GlaxoSmithKline.
FMCG Jobs for Graduates
As you may expect for companies whose remit includes everything from product development to manufacture, distribution and sales, FMCG companies offer a range of possible jobs for graduates.
Any graduate hoping to forge a career in research and development (R&D), supply chain, quality assurance, sales or marketing should investigate FMCG employers, as many have graduate schemes in exactly these areas.
As many of these companies are particularly large and require a fair amount of administration there are also a number of other career paths in areas such as IT, human resources and finance.
Desirable Qualities for Graduates
Historically, FMCG companies have been popular destinations for graduates with a fair amount of commercial nous. As highly profit-driven enterprises, FMCG companies are no place for anyone seeking an easy ride – graduate employees in any area of the business must be prepared to put in the hard work to get to know the inner workings of the brands that they are responsible for and the brands of their competitors.
With so many components of the business needing to work together efficiently to produce the end product, excellent organisational skills and flawless communications skills are also a must for employees at all levels.
Finally, graduates hoping to climb the ladder at the FMCG company of their choice must also be able to show that they can work effectively as part of a group and, when given the opportunity, display the kind of leadership skills which will get the best out of every member of their team.