Job market outlook
Asked to describe their top concerns for the coming year, consumer goods CEOs listed shifts in consumer spending and behavior, tax burdens, exchange rate volatility and overregulation. Unfortunately, these are the type of challenges that are not always easy for a CEO to counteract with a simple change in strategy.
This has an impact on the industry at large, and it would be careless to ignore these concerns in a graduate industry outlook, but there are some key ways that the industry is responding: sharpening focus to key performing products, moving to direct-to-customer models, downsizing stores and closing brick-and-mortar in favour of online altogether, personalising and localising chain stores, and embracing social issues to create a feelgood factor.
Graduates that can adapt to change and work within a lean challenger business, or dream up solutions to problems faced by traditional brands and stores, will ensure their employability and longevity in an industry that has been changed dramatically by technological innovation.
Globalisation is giving small challenger businesses and niche producers everywhere the chance to do well, as consumer bases spread further and wider across the internet-connected world.
How to get hired
Recruiters expect candidates to have a good knowledge of their brands, and very importantly a comprehensive understanding of their competitors and the overall market environment.
Recent graduates who were successful in landing a graduate role suggest the following tips for success:
- Thoroughly research the company and the role, applying this insight to your responses and questions posed during your interviews.
- Network with someone within the organisation prior to applying. This will help give you an accurate understanding of the role and what is expected of you.
- Know the organisation’s core values.
- If you are applying for a retail position, visit a store before your interview.
- Be prepared to demonstrate your leadership skills and experience.
Key skills you need
Being tech-friendly is a prerequisite of almost any role now, but especially in the retail sector as products and services become increasingly complex and web-based.
Working in this space requires a certain amount of savvy — buying and selling is a game where everyone’s in it to win it, and you need to know the rules.
When you are tasked with sating (and sometimes creating!) a need or solving a problem, it takes imagination to dream up a solution in the form of a product or service that your new customer desperately needs and will pay top dollar for.
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