Four skills you need to work in FMCG

The fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector is one the largest employers in the UK. FMCG are things that typically we use every day and are sold in large quantities – this means that it forms a huge part of the retail market. It is an industry that has become very popular for job seekers.

Whether you are looking into applying for a specific role in FMCG or you are simply considering a career change to this fast-paced environment, it is important to understand whether it will be right for you. Not everyone will excel in FMCG work, however if you are right for the job, you can find that this is an industry where you can go a long way on talent. So here are four key skills that you will need if you want to get ahead in FMCG.

A natural in persuasion

Many people assume that FMCG roles require superb selling skills. While this is fundamentally true, it is actually a little more complicated. In FMCG it is not always the case that you are having to sell the product itself – usually the buyer is already interested in the goods you offer. Instead, the industry relies on persuasion; you are trying to persuade the buyer that your goods are a better choice than those of your competitors’.

This is true no matter almost without regard to which role you are carrying out in FMCG. Whether you are negotiating rates from a supplier, selling to a retailer or creating packaging in the marketing department, the key skill is in your ability to persuade in order to influence the decision. And remember that being great at persuading does not mean that you are skilled in talking at someone for minutes on end – the real skill is in empathising with the needs of the person you are selling to and being able to find a way to show them that the product is the right choice specifically for them.

Skills across disciplines

To get the most out of staff in the FMCG industry, businesses are often looking for people who understand the bigger picture of the sector they operate within. For example, if you specialise in buying roles you can boost you employability by gaining a broader understanding of the other facets of FMCG. Having an in-depth knowledge of other key aspects of the industry such as trade marketing, market research and product innovation might not seem directly relevant to you, but it can make a difference to employers.

Don’t assume that just because it doesn’t have a direct influence on your role that it can’t help you. Learning about broader roles in FMCG can be crucial. And you may even find that the role that you eventually get will have elements of these disciplines.

Understanding insights

There is undoubtedly a skills gap in the FMCG industry surrounding gaining insights from data. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should retrain an a data analyst, as there are people with those skills but the real value to FMCG employers is when a candidate for a different role – for example, a marketing manager, has a good grounding in insights.

It is, after all, the managers and those pushing into senior positions who are developing business plans and strategies. The real value is in taking the insights and using them for commercial success. Increasingly if managers aren’t able to understand insights into the marketplace they can find themselves struggling.

Working under pressure

It is certainly the case that if you are someone who struggles with high pressure jobs, FMCG might not be the sector for you. By the very nature of the industry, things move very quickly and you need to be able to make decisions, provide great service and think clearly in a fast-paced environment. In practice this means that you need to have a wide range of traits including adaptability and organisation.

In an industry that moves as quickly as FMCG it is vital that you should have great time management and organisational skills as without them it can be easy to fall behind and start getting stressed about the work that you need to do.

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