Taking on FMCG talent gap challenges

28 June 2016

The FMCG industry is suffering from a talent gap in marketing as skilled people are drawn overseas to where the big budgets are.That’s the view of Hamish Marr and Kevin O’Shannessey, of Synergy Consumer, who discuss industry talent and retention in the latest FGC Leaders Series video.

Hamish says FMCG is a dynamic and fast-paced industry that suits people who can handle pace and change, and who are entrepreneurial and want to use that in a corporate environment.

“We’ve got some great people in the sales and marketing space, but one of the challenges, particularly in marketing, is that we’re losing a lot of great talent offshore. A lot of the roles are being centralised in Asia and Australia now. A lot of the big marketing budgets are being sent up to those regions … and it’s creating a real talent gap for us.”

He says one way of combating that and helping with retention would be for companies to send their best marketers to centres of excellence around the world where they could extend their networks, learn best-practice and new ideas and bring them back to New Zealand. “It would be a fantastic retention tool if they could offer that. And the investment for that is relatively low.”

Kevin says people need to be more patient with their career than they ever have been.

“Sometimes impatience will lead them to a pointy end or a senior part in their career where is nowhere else for them to go. If they do more time in a role and really test their strategic ability then that will build a better foundation for their future.

“Too often in the last 10 years I’ve seen super-talented people whose career is nearly stinted because they’ve been promoted too quickly. You shouldn’t be afraid to add maybe another 12 months to 2 years on to your goals for each role and hang in there and do a really good job. Don’t go for the short-term wins – think medium-to-long-term and really challenge yourself strategically.”

FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich says FGC is looking at issues around talent and retention, and the recent graduates jobs expo held at Auckland University went a long way to ensuring the industry’s messages were getting to the right people.

“We had an overwhelming response from graduates, and we’re confident that the industry is in a good position to force its claim as the industry of choice once again.”

Speakers in the FGC Leaders Series so far have been Geoff Shaw of Saturn Group on training up talent for senior roles, Sharna Heinjus of Kimberly-Clark on sustainability, Veronique Cremades of Nestlé on health and wellness, and Gerry Lynch of Mars on health and safety, Kelly Smith on talent and retention, Pic Picot on environmental sustainability, Mark Callaghan on health and wellness, Alison Barrass on health and safety, Craig Cotton on health and safety leadership, and Lindsay Mouat on advertising to children.

You can view Hamish and Kevin on FGC’s YouTube channel here.