Is FMCG still the best place for marketers to start a career?
The FMCG sector has traditionally been thought of as the best place for entry-level marketers to start their careers, as it gives marketers a solid foundation in fundamental marketing skills and experience of working with household brands that is invaluable on a CV.
However, there is a new school of thought that says other sectors, such as technology, telecoms and finance, can offer more innovation, a faster pace and a broader array of skills. So which is really the best place for new marketers to start off?
The pros of starting in FMCG marketing
The FMCG sector is really where marketing began and it is seen as far more integral to the success of brands than in other industries. This means FMCG marketing is very disciplined and focused on core competencies and FMCG marketing teams tend to be very strong in the traditional marketing skills, such as creating and running campaigns.
Beginning your career in FMCG means you will be focussed from the very start on understanding customers and their needs and coming up with creative ways to turn them into business success. This is the very crux of marketing, and is likely to stand any budding marketing leader in good stead for the future.
According to Emily Kraftman, Head of Marketing for UK and Ireland at Deliveroo, who began her career at Nestlé and AB InBev, FMCG gave her the best possible start to her career:
I got a really fantastic foundation in the core competencies of marketing, working on amazing global brands with a very structured way of thinking and that more theoretical approach to marketing, which I’m really appreciative of.
The other important consideration for entry-level marketers is that FMCG tends to almost exclusively promote from within, and it can be very hard to transition into the sector at a later point in your career if you’ve had no previous experience.
And the cons…
As marketing is so important in FMCG, it does tend to lead to more risk-averse and slower-paced strategies. The constantly evolutions in technology and digital marketing are allowing other industries to move to the cutting edge of marketing innovation.
Businesses in industries such as financial services, telecoms and tech are much more agile than FMCG brand and there are far more start-ups offering opportunities for rapid growth. Marketers in these areas are more able to experiment, take risks, make mistakes and learn from their experience. Digital and social tend to play a bigger role in marketing for these sectors, so new marketers gain more experience in these areas earlier on.
Katrina Ward-Smith, director of brand and marketing at Three feels that marketers in telecoms are:
exposed to a lot more media channels, and because digital and social play bigger roles we have to be at the forefront and trying and testing all the time. So the exposure that they get as a marketer is huge. We are keen to find innovative ways to tell our story. There is a real opportunity to think outside the box.
So how can big brands attract the next generation of marketers?
The attractiveness of FMCG marketing for new marketers isn’t something that’s likely to change in the near future. Recent research on school leavers from the Chartered Institute of Marketing shows that young people prioritise job security in big established firms, rather than innovation at start-ups or working on an impressive brand name. 60% want to work for a business that is successful, compared to 35% who are looking for a company at the ‘cutting edge’ of its industry and 28% who are attracted to a prestigious brand. This generation has come of age in a time of austerity and are looking to secure a substantial salary over anything else.
However, there are other areas which businesses can use to distinguish themselves and make their employer brand stand out. 41% of school leavers want to work for an organisation that contributes to society, and brand purpose and opportunities for volunteering are still an important part of attracting talent.
Young people also want training and development opportunities, as well as a chance to take on responsibility at an early stage in their career. And of course, the ability to work flexibly remains highly important for marketers joining the sector.
The Tarsh Partnership are specialist marketing recruiters, and we know exactly what it takes to attract top marketing talent. If you’d like to find out more about how your organisation can attract the next generation of marketers, why not get in touch?