Consumer goods sector to up graduate recruitment in 2009

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Consumer goods, including cosmetics, may be one of the few sectors in the UK recruiting more graduates this year when vacancies in general are predicted to fall for the first time since 2003.

The fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and the engineering sectors are the only two expected to significantly hike up the number of graduate recruits this year, according to a report from the UK’s Association for Graduate Recruitment.

Graduate vacancies in FMCG companies are expected to increase by 12.9 per cent, and engineering by 8.3 per cent, according to the survey.

The majority of companies planning to up the number of graduates said that it was due to a larger focus on graduate recruitment within the organisation, or due to an actual or expected growth in business.

Workforce optimisation

Although this growth in graduate recruitment may be difficult to align with recent reports of job cuts within the sector, the AGR’s Henry de Rougement explained that it may represent an optimisation of the workforce.

“People might be tightening their belts but graduate recruitment is still a very important part of these businesses. Companies are putting a lot of time, effort and money into these schemes to invest in the right people,”​ he told CosmeticsDesign.

In addition, he noted that the FMCG sector covers a wide range of businesses including food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, and a broad range of jobs within them.

Some of the biggest names were included in the AGR’s survey, including L’Oreal, Unilever, Nestle and Cadburys.

Overall the number of vacancies for young people with university educations is predicted to drop by 5.4 percent, with the financial sector expected to significantly reel in its recruitment (vacancies in investment banks are expected to drop by 28 per cent).

Starting salaries stagnate

Starting salaries are also expected to freeze at current rates, the first time an increase has not been predicted since the AGR started running surveys in 1987. Even when recruitment dropped in 2002 and 2003, salaries still increased.

Some companies taking part in the survey stated they planned to reduce starting salaries, a ‘very rare’ occurrence according to the report.

Again, the FMCG sector is expected to buck this trend, with a small 1.9 per cent increase in starting salary predicts.

Interestingly, the retail sector is expected to increase starting salaries at 10 per cent, the highest of all the sectors.

Related topics: Business & Financial, Financial focus

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