The cost of increased entry-level skill requirements in the FMCG sector

No matter what the industry, if you look back at necessary skill sets 50 years ago they will be drastically different from those workers have today, and are likely to be different again in 50 years. While this evolution is natural, some sectors such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are faced with stronger pressures. With greater skills required of entry level staff, it has become increasingly difficult to recruit and train suitable workers to fill vacancies in this industry. Ed Milne, National Manager of Bayside Group’s regional offices/divisions, provides guidance on workforce solutions and training pathways, pointing out the significant burden on both employers and the sustainability of FMCG as a whole.

Advanced technology pushes up the skills needed by entry level workers.Advanced technology pushes up the skills needed by entry level workers.

The growing pressures on FMCG workers

According to Ed, there are a number of factors that have led to rising standards for FMCG expertise. These include increased competition from international companies, the need for greater efficiency and productivity and an overall rise in wage rates. These elements combine to make it harder to give staff the training necessary to meet requirements.

“Increases in demand for productivity and increasing wage rates see a lift in skill set requirements for new employees. The cost of training with increased wages means businesses are more and more seeking people with skills pre-entry as new employees,” Ed says.

He points out that another big influence is technological innovation, which has lead to the automation of basic tasks and requires that workers have more advanced and specialised expertise.

“Running robotics, mechatronics and technology applications means entry level workers require a higher digital, technological and mechanical skill set. Disruptive technologies, improved mechatronics and programming all play a role in increasing the divide between traditional entry level roles and roles of today and tomorrow.”

Due to higher training costs and skill requirements, FMCG employers and employees are skills divergent.

How can we bridge the skills divide?

The result of these pressures has created a two way separation between employers and employees. For employers, it is more expensive and time-consuming to train staff, and professionals that are new to the industry are often ill-equipped to meet the skills demands due to a lack of specialised training.

“Both factors added together sees employers and employees increasingly skill divergent,” explains Ed. “The skills required and skills available, versus the time to train continue to grow further apart creating increasingly large barriers for entry level employees.”

Fortunately, strategies such as funded pre-employment and commencement training programs can go a long way towards reducing the burden on employers and employees alike. In addition, working with an industry-specialised, client-focussed recruiter such as Bayside Group will help assist FMCG employers find workers with the necessary expertise.

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